GLAAD president accelerates acceptance for #LGBTQfamilies around the country

On Monday, June 1, 2015, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer bloggers, their family members, and allies from across the U.S. and around the world will celebrate the tenth annual Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day. The event, developed and run by the award-winning LGBTQ-parenting site Mombian, and sponsored by Family Equality Council, aims to celebrate LGBTQ families, their diverse natures, and raise awareness of how current prejudices and laws have a negative impact on their lives and children.

By Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO

I have to admit, sometimes it’s easy to forget that there’s a horrible stigma hovering over LGBT parents in this country.

My wife and I have enjoyed raising our two beautiful children in an environment that seems, at least to us, brimming with acceptance.

Everywhere we go, from my children’s school to our neighborhood park to my own workplace, the idea that we are somehow different for being “gay” parents is rarely, if ever, introduced. Thanks to the love and compassion of the people around us, we are allowed to feel like normal caring parents, dealing with the same joys of difficulties of parenthood just like any other.

That’s why it was so shocking earlier this year to be reminded of the progress that has yet to be made when it comes to the acceptance of LGBT people in this country, especially in the realm of parenting.

In February, GLAAD released its “Accelerating Acceptance” report, which surveyed thousands of Americans on their feelings toward the LGBT community from their stance on marriage equality to their level of comfort with LGBT people in different settings of everyday life.

The results, presented in cold, hard statistics, were a sobering reminder that despite a general move toward embracing LGBT civil rights under the law, there remains a layer of uneasiness and discomfort with LGBT people for much of the American public.

Roughly a third of non-LGBT parents polled said they would be uncomfortable sending their children on a playdate at the home of an LGBT parent, and nearly half said they would be uncomfortable bringing their child to the wedding of a same-sex couple.

For transgender parents, the reality is even more unwelcoming, with the rate of discomfort jumping to 40 percent if a playdate were to take place in one of their homes.

These statistic rocked me, and say nothing of the troubling views many Americans hold toward children who display gender nonconforming behaviors. For a truly accepting society, all parents should be supportive of both their own children and other families in their community.

With the country now at the doorstep of full marriage equality, these are the types of negative sentiments and prevailing attitudes that we must work to overcome.

Closing the gap on full acceptance of LGBT people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from Americans themselves.

Thankfully, there is encouragement in our polling results as well. More than 80 percent of non-LGBT respondents agreed that despite gains on marriage equality, there is still much work to overturn prejudices related to the LGBT community.

This reflects a shared understanding that there is further to go - far beyond nationwide marriage equality - before LGBT Americans are truly accepted by their fellow citizens.

To achieve this, it will require the help of more allies in more walks of life advocating for the acceptance of their LGBT friends and family in their own communities.

For now, every playdate and PTA meeting is a chance to grow this army of allies. Let's not forget that we are still winning over the hearts and minds of those around us.