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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Lily Tomlin Marries Kathy Griffin on New Year’s Day
Okay, so Lily Tomlin didn’t actually marry marry Kathy Griffin, but she did officiate her wedding to longtime beau Randy Bick.
“She said yes!” Bick exclaimed in the video. “Such an incredible moment in our lives.”
As for the ring exchange, well…
“Randy and I are doing sort of toy rings for the ceremony because neither one of us like wearing rings ever,” Griffin told People. “So we will never wear rings. Deal with it.”
The 80-year-old Grace and Frankie star started the ceremony with a quip of her own.
“What was supposed to be a shallow, ‘toot it and boot it’ one-night stand has grown and flourished into something far more meaningful,” Tomlin said. “They stayed together. Then they couldn’t stay away from one another.”
Here’s the rundown:
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 1, 2020
Yes, we officially got married early this morning. I’m going to post the whole 15 minute ceremony on my YouTube page tomorrow. We are editing out the vows because we wanted those to be private and for us. The rest of it is just adorable. Lily Tomlin & Jane Wagner rule!#2020SoFar
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 2, 2020
BIG THANKS to @kourtneykardash & @KrisJenner for taking this photo Christmas Eve when they were kind enough to host a gigantic ENGAGEMENT PARTY FOR US! I mean they didn’t technically know it was an engagement party for us but boy they spared no expense! Pic by The Collective You pic.twitter.com/CtdWTFU9Ob
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 1, 2020
The entire ceremony was just under 14 minutes but I have to give you guys the uncut first 75 seconds. LOVE IT! We promised you atypical. We are in love and we cannot stop laughing. Thank you @LilyTomlin and Jane Wagner!#HappyNewYear pic.twitter.com/O5vOss3TCD
— Kathy Griffin (@kathygriffin) January 1, 2020
“Yes, we officially got married early this morning,” Griffin tweeted. “I’m going to post the whole 15 minute ceremony on my YouTube page tomorrow. We are editing out the vows because we wanted those to be private and for us. The rest of it is just adorable. Lily Tomlin & Jane Wagner rule!”
Wagner and Tomlin married in 2013. They have been together for over 40 years.
Image via screengrab.
Facebook Begins Removing False HIV-Related Ads After More Than 50 LGBTQ Groups Complain
Facebook has started pulling ads with misinformation regarding PrEP and Truvada after more than 50 LGBTQ organizations signed an open letter addressed to Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
On December 9, HIV/AIDS and public health organizations called on Facebook to remove dangerous and misleading ads. As of Dec. 30, nearly 70 organizations are listed as signatories. The newest organizations to participate include AIDS Alabama, Fenway Health, Housing Works, New York City AIDS Memorial, and U.S. People Living with HIV Caucus. A full list is here.
The Washington Post broke the news of Facebook’s action this morning.
“After a review, our independent fact-checking partners have determined some of the ads in question mislead people about the effects of Truvada,” Facebook spokeswoman Devon Kearns said, referring to the name of the drug. “As a result we have rejected these ads and they can no longer run on Facebook.”
“It’s gratifying to see one of Facebook’s fact-checkers backing up the overwhelming consensus of AIDS, LGBTQ, and HIV medical groups that these ads are misleading. But the question remains – why is Facebook taking money from these ambulance-chasing law firms for ads that are helping the spread of HIV?” said Peter Staley, a co-founder of the PrEP4All Collaboration.
“But Facebook has put a warning on only one ad thus far, with many more unaffected,” he continued, adding: “If this is their official response, after ignoring us for months, then it’s a mess.”
“Removing select ads is a strong first step, but the time is now for Facebook to take action on other very similar ads which target at-risk community members with misleading and inaccurate claims about PrEP and HIV prevention,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO.
“The time is now for Facebook to take action on other very similar ads which target at-risk community members with misleading and inaccurate claims about PrEP and HIV prevention.” https://t.co/QqupUEy1r0
— Sarah Kate Ellis (@sarahkateellis) December 30, 2019
Adding, “Dozens of organizations have told Facebook that the safety and effectiveness of PrEP to prevent HIV transmission is unequivocal. The pervasiveness of these ads and the subsequent real world harm should be catalysts for Facebook to further review how misleading and inaccurate ads are allowed to be targeted at LGBTQ and other marginalized communities.”
The CDC states that “studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily,” however, public health officials cite the Facebook and Instagram ads with creating dangerous barriers to PrEP usage.
Earlier this month, Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted support of the campaign to get Facebook to remove the ads and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also issued a statement of support. On December 20, Sen. Bob Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national health policy, also sent a letter to Zuckerberg calling the decision to allow the misleading ads to run “particularly egregious.”
The letter can be found here and excerpted below.
“Using Facebook’s and Instagram’s targeted advertising programs, various law firms are attempting to recruit gay and bisexual men who use Truvada PrEP as an HIV preventative to join a lawsuit, claiming that the drug has caused harmful side effects in this patient population, specifically bone density and kidney issues. By focusing on “Truvada” and PrEP — rather than “Tenofovir Disoproxil Fumarate” (or TDF) and HIV positive individuals who use it as an antiviral — the law firms’ advertisements are scaring away at-risk HIV negative people from the leading drug that blocks HIV infections. This is despite numerous studies underscoring the safety of TDF in HIV-negative PrEP users.
Leading public health officials, medical professionals, and dedicated PrEP navigators and outreach coordinators have shared that these advertisements on Facebook and Instagram are being directly cited by at-risk community members expressing heightened fears about taking PrEP. This issue goes beyond misinformation, as it puts real people’s lives in imminent danger.”
Three medical and HIV prevention experts recently wrote an op-ed calling out the ads, noting: “As public-health leaders, we are concerned that these often misleading and inflammatory advertisements are causing people to decide not to start PrEP or, in some cases, stop PrEP altogether. PrEP is a critically important component of the national plan to end the HIV epidemic in the United States by 2030.”
LGBT Americans Are Poorer in the South Than Anywhere Else in the Country
A new report released Tuesday showed that in a majority of U.S. states, LGBT people experience higher rates of poverty than cisgender straight people. The findings were released by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law.
Statistics reveal that more LGBT Americans are poor in the South at 24%, followed by the Midwest (23%), the West (22%), and the Northeast (18%).
Researchers analyzed data from the 2014-2017 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a health survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that collects state data on health-related risk factors and conditions among adults. The BRFSS offers an optional module that asks respondents to identify their sexual orientation and gender identity, and 35 states included that module in their state-level survey.
The survey does not collect data from youth. As a result, the study does not provide information about LGBT people under age 18, or LGBT people of any age in the 15 states that do not collect the data.
In addition to poverty rates, researchers examined social statuses that traditionally contribute to economic stability, including gender, race, age, and urban-rural residence in some states.
“There is so much more to learn about LGBT poverty in individual states,” said lead author Soon Kyu Choi, project manager at the Williams Institute. “We need to better understand the connection between differing poverty rates across states with variations in LGBT related public policies and public attitudes that may limit economic opportunities for LGBT people.”
Key Findings: Midwest: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin
•LGBT people have higher poverty rates than cisgender straight people in all eight states.
•Transgender people have higher poverty rates than do cisgender men in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, and Ohio.
•LGBT people of color have higher poverty rates than White LGBT people in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and Ohio.
Key Findings: Northeast: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont
•In all six states, LGBT people have higher poverty rates than cisgender straight people.
•LGBT people of color have higher poverty rates than White LGBT people in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island.
Key Findings: South: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia
•In all Southern states except Florida, LGBT people are more likely to be poor than cisgender straight people.
•In Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia, rural LGBT people have higher poverty rates than urban LGBT people.
•In West Virginia, the urban LGBT poverty rate is higher than the rural LGBT poverty rate.
Key Findings: West: California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Washington, and Wyoming
•LGBT people have higher poverty rates than cisgender straight people in Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Washington, and Wyoming.
•Transgender people have higher poverty rates than do cisgender people (or cisgender men) in California, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, and Washington.
“This study provides a foundation for understanding LGBT poverty by state. But clearly, more data are needed in the states that are not yet collecting SOGI data,” said study author Bianca Wilson, Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “As more states begin to include these critical questions on all of their surveys, we can provide nuanced analyses that inform effective policies and interventions that meet the needs of LGBT people in specific states.”
This study is part of the Pathways to Justice Project, a long-term project at the Williams Institute examining poverty rates, personal narratives, and experiences with economic development and food insecurity services among LGBTQ people. Read the report.
Image via Shutterstock.
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