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An unseen casualty of a tumultuous year

Alarming erosion of acceptance of LGBTQ


For the first time in the report’s history, GLAAD and The Harris Poll found a drop in acceptance of LGBTQ people, according to the organization.

GLAAD is the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization. Results are from its fourth annual Accelerating Acceptance report, a national survey among more than 2,100 U.S. adults conducted on GLAAD’s behalf by The Harris Poll.

The poll measures American attitudes toward LGBTQ people and issues, shows a dramatic drop in the number of non-LGBTQ U.S. adults who were “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people.

The results were announced during a panel discussion hosted by GLAAD and The Ariadne Getty Foundation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

For the first time in the report’s history, GLAAD and The Harris Poll found a drop in acceptance of LGBTQ people.

“In the past year, there has been a swift and alarming erosion of acceptance which can only be fought by being visible and vocal,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “This report puts numbers to the bias that too many LGBTQ Americans have recently experienced. "GLAAD is fighting the rollback by enlisting philanthropic leaders like the Ariadne Getty Foundation and global changemakers attending the World Economic Forum to use their platforms and "to move our community forward.”

Poll Highlights

• Less than half of non-LGBTQ adults (49%) reported being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people across seven situations. This is a significant decline from 53% last year and the first time the Accelerating Acceptance report has shown a drop in acceptance for LGBTQ people.

• GLAAD and The Harris Poll found that 55 % of LGBTQ adults reported experiencing discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity. This number is a significant 11 %age point increase from the previous year (44%).

• There was a decline in non-LGBTQ adults’ comfortability around LGBTQ people, particularly in more personal situations. Compared to last year’s results, significantly more respondents noted that they would be uncomfortable learning a family member is LBGTQ (30% vs. 27%), having their child’s teacher be LGBTQ (31% vs. 28%), and learning their doctor is LGBTQ (31% vs. 28%).

“An unseen casualty of a tumultuous year has been the LGBTQ community,” said John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll. “In a single year, we’ve seen significant declines from what had been an increasingly accepting America to one now less supportive. And this lost ground of acceptance cuts across many in American society”.

Click here for the full survey.

Research Method

The fourth annual Accelerating Acceptance survey was conducted by GLAAD and The Harris Poll among a nationally representative sample of 2,160 US adults of whom 1,897 are classified as non-LGBTQ adults. The online survey was administered in November 2017.

The researchers on this study from GLAAD were President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis, Grant Schneider, Chief Strategy Officer, and Rich Ferraro, Chief Communications Officer. Researchers from The Harris Poll were David Krane, Research Director, John Gerzema, CEO, and Tawny Saez, Head of PR. 

An Opportunity

To combat the rising threats to LGBTQ acceptance, GLAAD launched the GLAAD Media Institute during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The Institute is a groundbreaking new training, consulting, and research venture that builds upon and furthers GLAAD’s successful legacy of leveraging media, business, and cultural institutions to effect positive change with advocates around the world.

The Ariadne Getty Foundation is a founding partner of the GLAAD Media Institute and announced a $15 million pledge to build the Institute as well as advance GLAAD’s work to invest in LGBTQ ventures, including media and small businesses, that have social impact worldwide.

“The time is now for world leaders and all of us to stand by marginalized communities and promote equality and diversity,” said Ari Getty, President of the Ariadne Getty Foundation and current member of GLAAD’s Board of Directors. “GLAAD has always been the leader in creating a better world for LGBTQ people. This lead gift will not only ensure that work continues, but will hopefully inspire others to join us in our pursuit of 100 % acceptance.”

Getty continued: “My family has long stood alongside individuals who are too often left behind as social justice progresses. Now more than ever we must join hands and raise our voices to combat oppression and move forward towards a world of equality, regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, geography, or creed.”

“This important lead gift continues Ari’s legacy of strategic philanthropy to improve the lives of countless people around the world,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “We will not stop until there is 100% LGBTQ acceptance everywhere. Though these results show the tide is turning against LGBTQ people, this critical lead gift will enable GLAAD to both leverage the media to change the world, and invest in the best storytelling to bring to life the importance and value of achieving 100% LGBTQ acceptance.”