Current Affairs

Young people are ‘less accepting’ of LGBT+ community in Trump era

Lily Wakefield June 24, 2019
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Divisive rhetoric in the Trump era is causing young people to become less accepting of the LGBT+ community (Charly Triballeau - Pool/Getty)

Young people were the only group to show a decline in acceptance of LGBT+ people this year, which could be down to divisive rhetoric in the Trump era and the “newness” of certain labels, a GLAAD survey has found.

Usually thought to be the most tolerant group, 18 to 34-year-olds showed a marked decrease in comfort levels around LGBT+ people in various situations.

The Accelerating Acceptance Index found that 36 percent of young Americans felt “very” or “somewhat” uncomfortable learning a family member is LGBT+, compared to 29 percent in the 2018 report.

34 percent said they felt uncomfortable having an LGBT+ doctor, up from 27 percent in 2018, and 39 percent would feel uncomfortable if their child were to have an LGBT+ history lesson in school, compared to 30 percent last year.

“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 research firm The Harris Poll which collaborated with GLAAD to conduct the survey.

“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.”

Younger people have been found to be ‘less accepting’ of LGBT+ people, according to a new study  (MARCOS PIN/AFP/Getty Images)

Discomfort around LGBT+ people is down to “divisive rhetoric in politics and culture”

The report suggests the decline in acceptance among young people is a result of “divisive rhetoric in politics and culture.” In addition to this GLAAD counted 114 attacks by Donald Trump on the LGBT+ community since he took office in its Trump Accountability Project. 

When separated by gender, 43 percent of non-LGBT+ men aged 18 to 34 felt uncomfortable learning a relative is LGBT+, up from 11 percentage points from last year, and 42 percent of men in the same group were uncomfortable with their child having an LGBT+ teacher, an increase from 37 percent.

40 percent of young women would be uncomfortable if their child had a LGBT+ history lesson in school, a figure which jumped up from 27 percent in 2018.

GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis said: “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.”

Overall, eight out of 10 Americans supported equal rights LGBT+ people, a number which has remained stable. The level of comfort for people in other age groups around LGBT+ people also remained stable when compared to last year’s report.

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