Annual GLAAD Accelerating Acceptance Study: Over 80% of non-LGBTQ Americans expect growing familiarity with trans and nonbinary people

By GLAAD |
November 4, 2021

GLAAD has announced the findings of its seventh annual Accelerating Acceptance Study, a national survey among U.S. adults conducted using a sample sourced by Cint. The study measures American attitudes towards, and understanding of, LGBTQ people.

For the full report, visit www.glaad.org/acceptance

This year, the Accelerating Acceptance Study found that non-LGBTQ Americans are becoming more understanding that the LGBTQ community is not just one homogenous group, but rather a diverse community of various identities across gender and sexuality. Additionally, the findings show that  non-LGBTQ Americans are becoming increasingly aware that there are more than two genders, with many polled also understanding that transgender and nonbinary people will continue to be a more visible and familiar part of life. Despite growing levels of awareness, there is still significant room for improvement. 

  • 37% of non-LGBTQ strongly/somewhat disagree that the LGBTQ community is one group with similar needs/issues, an increase from 32% in 2020. 
  • 43% of non-LGBTQ people believe that gender is not limited to female and male, an increase from 38% in 2020. 
  • 81% of non-LGBTQ people expect that nonbinary and transgender people will become a more familiar part of life just as gay and lesbian people have.

While understanding is advancing and many people are aware that gender identity will become a more familiar part of life, approximately half of non-LGBTQ people find conversations about gender identity and the LGBTQ community complicated or confusing.

  • 54% of non-LGBTQ people feel that LGBTQ people make expectations about gender and how to interact very complicated. 
  • 47% of non-LGBTQ people say that nonbinary and transgender people are unfamiliar to them.
  • 45% of non-LGBTQ people say they’re confused by the different number of terms to describe individuals who comprise the LGBTQ community. 

The study shows that reports of anti-LGBTQ discrimination have increased over the past year, with 6 in 10 LGBTQ people reporting discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. 

  • 59% of LGBTQ people report discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity, an increase from 46% in 2020. 

As in previous years, respondents were also asked about their comfortability with LGBTQ people across seven different scenarios: learning a family member is LGBTQ, learning their doctor is LGBTQ, having LGBTQ members at their place of worship, seeing a same-sex couple holding hands, seeing a gay/lesbian co-worker’s wedding picture, having their child placed in a class with a LGBTQ teacher, and learning their child has a lesson on LGBTQ history in school. Year over year, levels of comfortability have remained relatively stable.

  • 29% of non-LGBTQ respondents said that they are or would be 'very' or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable learning a family member is LGBTQ, similar to 30% in 2020. 
  • 28% of non-LGBTQ respondents said that they are or would be 'very' or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable learning their doctor is LGBTQ, which is the same percentage as 2020.
  • 27% of non-LGBTQ respondents said that they are or would be 'very' or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable having LGBTQ members at their place of worship, similar to 26% in 2020. 
  • 30% of non-LGBTQ respondents said they are or would be 'very' or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable seeing a same-sex couple holding hands, similar to 28% in 2020.
  • 25% of non-LGBTQ respondents said that they are or would be 'very' or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable seeing a gay or lesbian co-worker’s wedding picture, similar to 26% in 2020.
  • 30% of non-LGBTQ respondents said that they are or would be 'very' or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable having their child placed in a class with a LGBTQ teacher, similar to 28% in 2020. 
  • 37% of non-LGBTQ respondents said that they are or would be 'very' or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable learning their child has a lesson on LGBTQ history in school, similar to 39% in 2020. 

“The findings from this year’s Accelerating Acceptance Study indicate clear opportunities for education and a redoubled commitment to promoting visibility and representation, particularly depctions that showcase the diversity of LGBTQ communities—in all media sectors, from entertainment to news media to advertising. Visibility can and does move people to more accepting attitudes,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “An alarming result from the poll shows that LGBTQ individuals say they’ve experienced discrimination at higher levels in 2021 than last year. A dangerous rhetorical climate continues in statehouses across the country as legislatures seek to prevent transgender children from playing on school sports teams or denying them access to live-saving healthcare as a means of demonizing transgender people. During this time, it is critical to display the richness and humanity of our communities, changing the narrative from animosity to embrace, and educating audiences, voters, journalists, and politicians about the lived realities of LGBTQ lives."

In early 2021, Gallup released data that shows that people are identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender at greater rates than ever before. According to its polling, 1 in 6 Generation Z adults identify as LGBT.

In 2021, state and federal lawmakers introduced more than 100 bills to restrict the rights of trans women, people, and youth, most notably in terms of education, healthcare, and sports. These cruel and inhumane bills are frequently introduced despite recognition from lawmakers that there has been no instance of trans participation being an issue in their state, similar to dozens of other states around the country proposing bans. Ten U.S. states have passed laws unfairly restricting access to school sports for transgender youth, including Alabama, Arizona, Idaho, Florida, Mississippi, Montana, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, and West Virginia. 

Research Method

The Accelerating Acceptance Study was conducted online in January 2021, among a national sample of 2,517 U.S. adults, age 18 or over, using sample sourced by Cint (a leading sample supplier and aggregator, with access to over 149 million panel members worldwide). 

Email press@glaad.org for questions related to methodology and data.

 

About GLAAD:

GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.


About Cint:

Cint is the technology backbone of the world's most successful insights companies. Cint's platform automates sample fieldwork and operations so that companies can gather insights faster, more cost-effectively and at scale. Cint also has the world's largest sample exchange that connects sample buyers to over 100 million engaged consumers across over 150 countries. More than 2,000 researchers, agencies and brands - including Kantar, Zappi, GfK and SurveyMonkey - use Cint to transform how they gather insights and be competitive in the market. Cint has a rapidly growing team across 14 global offices including London, New York, Stockholm, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Barcelona, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney. (www.cint.com)