"Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBTQ people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from Americans themselves. Accelerating acceptance will require the help of not just LGBTQ people, but also their allies -- everyday Americans who feels strongly and take an active role to make sure that their LGBTQ friends and family are fully accepted members of society."
- Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President & CEO
Why the South? Why now?
In late 2014, GLAAD commissioned Harris Poll to measure attitudes towards LGBTQ Americans. What we found is that even though 2015 has been (and is poised to continue to be) an historic year for the rights of LGBTQ Americans, beneath legal and policy progress lies a layer of uneasiness and discomfort. While the public is increasingly embracing LGBTQ civil rights and equal protection under the law, many are still uncomfortable with having LGBTQ people in their families and the communities where they live. Within these numbers we find that Southerners feel significantly more discomfort about their LGBTQ family, friends, and neighbors than is found in other regions of the country.
Americans' attitudes and behavior on LGBTQ equality are not just influenced by what they see and hear, but who they know. GLAAD's Southern Stories initiative tells the stories of LGBTQ people and their allies in the South to create a cultural shift towards LGBTQ acceptance and understanding in the region.
Southerners continue to report higher levels of discomfort in situations with LGBTQ people, compared to the general US population.
Complacency with issues facing the LGBTQ community is just as strong in the South as in the rest of the US. The one exception was that non-LGBTQ Southerners are more likely to believe that politicians support pro-LGBTQ policies than the general American population.
Southerners are slightly more unconcerned or unaware of important issues facing the LGBTQ community than the rest of the country.
Recent news from Southern Stories
Check out photos and stories from the Students Against Hate rallies, where university students & locals across Texas rallied and spoke out against anti-LGBTQ bills in the Texas state legislature.
“The possibility of having someone draw a gun on me because they think I’m in the wrong bathroom is really terrifying.”
Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Janelle Monae, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lawrence, Sia, Troye Sivan, and Laverne Cox are among the many artists standing up for LGBTQ Texans.
Many nominees for GLAAD's 28th annual Media Awards shine a light on the experiences of LGBTQ people in southern and rural communities.
“Yet again, North Carolina lawmakers have failed the very people they are sworn to protect,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
GLAAD today responded to reports that the North Carolina legislature will meet to consider repeal of HB2, a discriminatory law targeting LGBTQ people.
On Saturday, join activists and advocates at the “Justice for All” rally in Burlington, North Carolina.
"I am tired of hearing the "If you don't like it, leave" argument. How do we expect to become a better state when we are running everyone off? It is #mymississippi too. We are all Mississippi and together we can be the change that we want to see. "
"I have to think, hope, and sometimes even pray, that somehow the individual will beat out the collective. That somehow Mississippi will become a place that is safe for families like mine."