Young people in the US becoming less accepting of LGBTQ community

A Rainbow flag.
The increased visibility of LGBTQ people in the US may be making young people uncomfortable. Photo credit: Getty

A major national survey of adults in the United States has found that young people's tolerance for the LGBTQ community is dwindling.

GLAAD, an organisation that advocates for unbiased reporting of LGBTQ people in the media, released the results of its fifth annual national survey, gauging the US public's attitudes toward LGBTQ people.

The survey of 1,970 non-LGBTQ people found that young people aged between 18 and 34 were the only demographic to show an erosion in how comfortable they were in social situations involving LGBTQ people.

Responders were asked to rate how comfortable they would be in several different circumstances including: learning a family member is LGBT, learning their doctor is LGBT, having LGBT members at their place of worship and learning their child has a lesson on LGBT history in school.

"The number of non-LGBTQ US adults ages 18-34 who reported being 'very' or 'somewhat' comfortable across all seven situations dropped from 53 percent to 45 percent," the official report noted.

"This year, the significant erosion is being driven by females ages 18-34, where comfort levels fell from 64 percent last year to 52 percent this year."

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said focus groups conducted after the survey found that rapid social changes and the current political climate in the US are driving the apparent decline of acceptance of LGBTQ people.

"They're interfacing with new gender identities and sexual orientations, so that takes a minute to get used to," Ellis told The Daily Beast

"Then, look at this current administration we're living under, and its culture of hate and discrimination. Those are the two issues at hand here that emerged from the focus groups."

John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll - the organisation that conducted the survey itself -  said the results were particularly surprising given society generally believes young people are at the forefront of tolerance for diversity.

"We typically see in our surveys that younger Americans can be counted on to advocate for issues like gender equality, immigration and climate change. 

"So it is surprising to see a notable erosion of acceptance for the LGBTQ 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."

The survey's results came the same month Super Happy Fun America, a group with the motto "it's great to be straight", applied to Boston City Council to hold a Pride event for straight people. 

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