(CNSNews.com) – A new Harris Poll commissioned by the pro-LGBT media group GLAAD shows that the percentage of non-gay Americans aged 18-34, who are considered allies of the LGBT community, fell from 63% in 2016 to 45% in 2018.
In addition, the percentage of non-gay Americans aged 18-34 who felt uncomfortable in personal situations involving LGBTQ persons increased. For instance, the percentage of normal Americans who felt “uncomfortable” in learning a family member is LGBTQ rose from 24% to 36%.
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said of the survey’s findings, “The decline in acceptance [of LGBTs] and rise in discrimination found in the survey corresponded to an increase in hateful rhetoric in our culture.”
“While young people are identifying as LGBTQ in higher rates than ever before, there has also been an uptick in non-LGBTQ young people pushing back against acceptance,” said Ellis, who is “married” to her partner, Karen Ellis-Henderson.
“The younger generation has traditionally been thought of as a beacon of progressive values,” she said. “We have taken that idea for granted and this year’s results show that the sharp and quick rise in divisive rhetoric in politics and culture is having a negative influence on younger Americans.”
The survey was conducted in January 2019 and is entitled the 2019 Accelerating Acceptance Report. For the poll, 1,970 Americans, 18 and older, were asked for their reaction about questions relative to LGBT persons and situations.
“Allies” are defined as “non-LGBTQ respondents who were either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ comfortable in all situations.” In 2016, the survey found that 63% of that demographic were accepting of LGBTs. In 2017, however, that acceptance rate had fallen to 53%, and in 2018 it was 45%.
The drops in acceptance were among non-LGBTQ females and males – 65% of females were accepting in 2016 but only 52% were accepting in 2018. For the males, 62% were accepting in 2016 but in 2018 only 35% were accepting of gays and lesbians and transgenders.
Also, when asked about learning that a family members is LGBTQ, 36% said they feel uncomfortable – in 2016 that percentage was 24%.
If their child was placed in a class with an LGBTQ teacher, 33% of the demographic said they would be uncomfortable. In 2016, only 25% said that.
Thirty-four percent said they would feel uncomfortable upon learning their doctor is LGBTQ, which is up from 24% in 2016.
For “learning my child had a lesson on LGBTQ history in their school,” 39% said they would be “uncomfortable,” which is up from 27% in 2016.
After seeing the drop in acceptance in 2016, GLAAD took action to change the situation.
“Headlines that stated ‘LGBTQ acceptance is eroding’ were a call to arms for GLAAD and so many around the country,” said Ellis. “GLAAD doubled down on our formula for making culture change and has now trained nearly 10,000 individuals through the GLAAD Media Institute.”
“With the knowledge that erosion in acceptance was primarily happening among younger males, GLAAD launched a program dedicated to working with the video game industry on LGBTQ inclusion, to bring LGBTQ characters and stories to a world where male audiences were consuming content,” she said.
Ellis continued, “Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBTQ people will not come from legislation on judicial decisions alone, but from creating a culture where LGBTQ people are embraced and respected. This year’s results demonstrate an urgent need for GLAAD to reach younger Americans with stories and campaigns that build acceptance.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is a persistent problem in the gay community. In 2017 (latest data available), “gay and bisexual men accounted for 66% of all HIV diagnoses in the United States,” said the CDC.
Also, “anal sex is the highest-risk sexual behavior for HIV transmission,” states the CDC.
In addition, sexually active gay men are at greater risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease, reports the CDC. “While anyone who has sex can get an STD, sexually active gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are at greater risk,” said the agency. “In addition to having higher rates of syphilis, more than half of all new HIV infections occur among MSM.”