Days before the nation’s 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and the start of WorldPride in New York, a new study is measuring American attitudes toward LGBTQ people – and the results aren’t stellar.
On Monday, GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer media advocacy organization, announced the findings of its fifth annual Accelerating Acceptance Index. The national survey among U.S. adults was conducted on GLAAD’s behalf by The Harris Poll. The Index measures American attitudes toward LGBTQ people.
The percentage of non-LGBTQ adults reporting being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people across seven scenarios remained stable (49%) after a significant decline last year (49% “very” or “somewhat” comfortable in the 2018 report versus 53% in the 2017 report).
Importantly, however, this year’s Index found the number of young Americans ages 18-34 who are comfortable across all seven scenarios dropped from 53% to 45%, the second consecutive year that this age group has shown a drop.
The Index also comes amidst a number of high profile incidents of anti-LGBTQ violence, which GLAAD has documented here. Reported hate crimes in America rose 17%, the third consecutive year that such crimes increased, according to data released by the FBI in 2018.
The Accelerating Acceptance Index was conducted online earlier this year among a national sample of 1,970 US adults, 18 or over, who were presented with seven situations that were selected by GLAAD and The Williams Institute in 2015. They include: learning a family member is LGBT, learning my doctor is LGBT, having LGBT members at my place of worship, seeing a LGBT co-worker’s wedding picture, having my child placed in a class with a LGBT teacher, seeing a same-sex couple holding hands, and learning my child has a lesson on LGBT history in school.
By combining responses to these situations, the annual Index provides insight into the rate at which non-LGBTQ Americans accept LGBTQ people.
How Comfortable are Americans with LGBTQ People?
- This year, nearly half of non-LGBTQ adults (49%) are classified as ‘allies’ in the Index, meaning they responded that they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ comfortable with LGBTQ people across all of the seven situations. This is has not changed from the 49% reported in 2018, which was down from 53% the year prior.
- 38% of non-LGBTQ adults are classified as ‘detached supporters’, whose comfort levels varies across the seven scenarios. 13% are classified as ‘resisters’ and are not comfortable in any of the situations that were presented. The percentage of ‘resisters’ has been stable since the start of the Accelerating Acceptance Index.
- The only age group to post a decline this year was young Americans ages 18-34. The number of non-LGBTQ U.S. adults ages 18-34 who reported being ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ comfortable across all seven situations dropped from 53% to 45%. This reflects a continued erosion in comfort among this age group over the past two years. This year, the significant erosion is being driven by females ages 18-34, where comfort levels fell from 64% last year to 52% this year.
- In total, 18% of respondents report knowing a transgender person; 31% know a bisexual person; 75% know a gay or lesbian person.
Young People are More Uncomfortable with LGBTQ People in Personal Situations:
- More young people ages 18-34 responded that they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable in three personal scenarios including learning a family member is LGBT (36% uncomfortable in the 2019 report vs. 29% in the 2018 report); learning my doctor is LGBT (34% vs. 27%); and learning my child had a lesson on LGBT history in their school (39% vs. 30%).
- 43% of males ages 18-34 reported that they were uncomfortable learning a family member is LGBT (up from 32% in 2018) and 42% of males ages 18-34 reported that they were uncomfortable learning their child’s teacher is LGBT (up from 37% in 2018).
- 40% of females ages 18-34 reported that they were uncomfortable learning their child had a lesson on LGBT history in school, an increase of 13 percentage points from the previous year’s findings.
8 out of 10 Americans Support Equal Rights for LGBTQ People for Third Consecutive Year:
- GLAAD and The Harris Poll found that support for equal rights is stable. The majority of non-LGBTQ Americans (80%) support equal rights for the LGBTQ community. This particular statistic has been consistent since 2016.
- 12% of the survey reported to be LGBTQ. In order to be more inclusive than other surveys, GLAAD includes a more expansive number of sexual orientations and gender identities to select from.
“Last year, when we saw an erosion in LGBTQ acceptance, GLAAD doubled down on our formula for making positive culture change,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The sharp and quick rise in divisive rhetoric both in politics and in culture is now having a negative influence on younger Americans and coinciding with an alarming pattern of anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination. As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, LGBTQ people and allies must urgently address today’s cultural crisis by being visible and vigilant.”
“We typically see in our surveys that younger Americans can be counted on to advocate for issues like gender equality, immigration and climate change,” said John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll. “So it is surprising to see a notable erosion of acceptance for the LTBTQ community, which counters many of the assumptions we make about their values and beliefs. In this toxic age, tolerance––even among youth––now seems to be parsed out. Nothing today should be taken for granted.”
Read the full report and learn more about the data collection methods here: glaad.org/acceptance.
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Shock Jock Thaddeus Matthews Pummels LGBTQ Candidate David Clemons
Memphis-based radio talk show host Thaddeus Matthews is being condemned today for homophobic comments and false accusations targeting Memphis City Council candidate Davin Clemons. If elected this October, Clemons would become the first openly LGBTQ person on the city council.
On his radio show Monday night, Matthews stated he is only interested in the Memphis mayoral race and the district six council race because Clemons is an openly gay candidate. On Wednesday and Thursday nights, Matthews devoted two two-hour podcasts to lambasting Davin’s sexual orientation.
“I’m not going to hold him being a homosexual against him,” Matthews said, adding his support for Clemons’ opponent because he is a “family man.” He also said that his “wife is a woman” and promised to “look for the dirt” on Clemons.
Matthews noted Clemons as being a police officer before going on to talk about his “sexual preferences.”
“They do all that in the bedroom…unless you got a record as a police officer of fraternizing with other men while on the job,” Matthews said.
— Davin D. Clemons (@DavinClemons) August 2, 2019
Victory Fund asserted in a statement, “There have been no such accusations against Clemons and Matthews makes no attempt to clarify or provide evidence for his claim. He says simply, ‘We’ll save all that for a later date.'”
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said, “Thaddeus Matthews’s bigoted attack on Davin is both cringe-worthy and insidious – an unsubtle and failed attempt at doublespeak that insults the intelligence of his listeners and the people of Memphis. But the most repulsive moment in his diatribe is when he attacks Davin – a police officer who risks his life for his community – with a vague and false accusation for which he offers zero evidence. He is attempting to exploit the tired and homophobic stereotype of gay men as sexual predators, but we have learned these attacks are increasingly rejected by voters in Tennessee and across the country. Matthews is a charlatan going after ratings through provocation. It will not stop this historic LGBTQ candidate who spends his days going door to door to speak with voters about how to uplift and unite Memphis, not divide.”
Colorado Becomes 18th State to Ban Conversion Therapy
Today, Colorado House Bill 19-1129: Prohibit Conversion Therapy for Minors, goes into effect.
Sponsored by Representatives Dafna Michaelson Jenet, D-Commerce City, and Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, and Senator Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, HB19-1129 bans a state-licensed medical or mental health care provider from engaging in the discredited, harmful practice of conversion therapy on a patient under 18 years of age in order to change their sexual orientation or gender identity. A physician or mental health care provider who violates this provision engages in unprofessional conduct under the applicable professional licensing board.
Colorado is the 18th state in the country to ban conversion therapy for minors.
A version of this bill was first introduced in 2015, and was introduced every session after. All were previously sent to kill committees in the Republican-controlled Senate after passing the House. This year, the bill passed with bipartisan support in both chambers.
One Colorado Executive Director Daniel Ramos said, “After five attempts in the last five years, Colorado has finally taken the significant step in protecting our LGBTQ youth by banning the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy. Conversion therapy is based on the false claim that being LGBTQ is a mental illness that needs to be cured – a view that has been rejected as scientifically invalid by every major medical and mental health group. No young person should ever be shamed by a mental health professional into thinking that who they are is wrong. Mental health care should be ethical and affirming for all people – including LGBTQ young people. I applaud the Colorado General Assembly for their bipartisan support of this measure. Protecting our LGBTQ youth is not a partisan issue.”
One Colorado is the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans.
Silas Musick, a survivor of conversion therapy and graduate of the Colorado-based Focus on the Family Institute, said, “Therapy with the purpose of guiding people to the best version of themselves is beneficial, healing, and can save lives. However, therapy where only one outcome is considered successful is harmful. After years of trying to change an unchangeable part of myself, I know I am valued and loved for who I am. I’m thankful our LGBTQ youth are now protected from this dangerous and discredited practice by medical and mental health professionals.”
On March 25, the Colorado Senate passed House Bill 19-1129: Prohibit Conversion Therapy for Minors on a bipartisan 21-13 vote. Senators Don Coram, R-Montrose, Kevin Priola, R- Henderson, and Jack Tate, R-Centennial, were the Republican votes in support of the bill.
On February 19, the Colorado House passed House Bill 19-1129: Prohibit Conversion Therapy for Minors on a bipartisan 42-20 vote. Representatives Colin Larson, R-Littleton, and Hugh McKean, R-Loveland, were the two Republican votes in support of the bill.
Governor Jared Polis, the country’s first openly gay elected governor, signed the bill into law on May 31, 2019.
Gay Polish Couple Release Viral ‘You Need to Calm Down’ Video
Do the names Jakub Kwieciński and David Mycek sound familiar? They might. The gay Polish couple made headlines when they came out to family, friends and complete strangers in 2016 while performing a lip-synced version of Roxette’s “Some Other Summer.” Well, they’ve done it again, this time to Taylor Swift’s 2019 summer sensation “You Need to Calm Down” off her Lover album.
“You Need to Calm Down” was released by Swift at the start of LGBTQ+ Pride Month (June 2019) in an effort to denounce homophobia. The Pop star sings, “You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace / And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate / Cause shade never made anybody less gay.”
Later she asks, “Can you just not step on his gown?”
The accompanying video went viral after it was released, in part due to Swift’s superstar cohorts, including her once “Bad Blood” subject Katy Perry. Queer Hollywood (Billy Porter, Ellen DeGeneres and Adam Rippon) made appearances alongside the two leading ladies as well.
Kwieciński and Mycek chose to re-purpose “You Need To Calm Down” in hopes of pushing back against a reported rise in homophobia and transphobia in their home country, according to HuffPost. The cast in their video was a little more personal, with local advocates, politicians and media personalities taking center stage. As of Thursday afternoon, more than 125,000 viewers had seen their video.
And now you can, too:
Kwieciński and Mycek married in 2017.
“It is really amazing tribute to the LGBTQ community,” Kwieciński said of Swift’s original video version. “We wish [Swift] was Polish because with her open heart and power, she might change a lot here. Polish artists don’t support our community too much. They don’t want to lose conservative fans and don’t want to upset the government, which is in charge of our national television.”
Gazeta Polska, a conservative publication, began distributing “LGBT-free zone” stickers in July. Kwieciński said he hoped music would create a safe and accepting place for his people.
“Poland is one of the most homophobic countries in Europe, so people usually are afraid to express themselves,” he said. “We need to let people know us — show them that we are their doctors, neighbors, hairdressers and so on.”
Watch Swift’s original video:
Watch Kwieciński and Mycek’s “Some Other Summer” video:
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