Accelerating Acceptance

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Accelerating Acceptance 2019

Fifty years after the Stonewall uprising, the LGBTQ community has great reason to celebrate the many advancements that have created greater visibility and legal protections for LGBTQ Americans, but the fight for 100% acceptance is far from over.

Last year the Accelerating Acceptance Index, a national survey among U.S. adults conducted on GLAAD's behalf by The Harris Poll, saw an erosion in LGBTQ acceptance. Although this year's Index reports that the drop in LGBTQ acceptance has been stemmed, a growing number of young people ages 18-34 report being less comfortable around LGBTQ people in certain personal situations. At the same time, the Trump administration continues to attack the LGBTQ community through discriminatory policies and targeted rhetoric, and LGBTQ Americans are becoming more vulnerable to hate crimes and violence, which GLAAD documents here. GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance Report provides us with an urgent reminder that LGBTQ people and allies should continue to remain visible and vigilant on the fight for 100% acceptance of LGBTQ people.

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Accelerating Acceptance 2022 cover
Thursday, November 4, 2021

Accelerating Acceptance 2022

Since 2015, GLAAD’s annual Accelerating Acceptance study has measured Americans’ attitudes and comfortability towards LGBTQ Americans, highlighting the progress we’ve made and the challenges that still need to be addressed in pursuit of full acceptance for the LGBTQ community.

Since the study’s inception we have recorded a steady increase in many key figures of acceptance, but this year we found key changes of note: Non-LGBTQ Americans feel increased confusion around the letters and terms used to describe the community, with a majority inaccurately associating the term LGBTQ with being mostly about sexual orientation. Most alarmingly, LGBTQ people are reporting an increased incidence of discrimination, falling in particular on LGBTQ people of color, and transgender and nonbinary people. These disconcerting results prompted us to go further to explore LGBTQ Americans’ sense of being unsafe in America.

A significant majority of the LGBTQ community—a startling 70%—says that discrimination has increased over the past two years. It is taking place not in distant, seldom-visited corners of their experience, but in their daily lives—with family, in the workplace, on social media, in public accommodations, and in interactions with people at their children’s schools.

We found that more than half (54%) of transgender and nonbinary people feel unsafe walking in their own neighborhoods, compared to 36% of all LGBTQ adults, as well as less safe in various environments, from work, to social media, or in a typical store. More Gen Z Americans as well are out as LGBTQ than any other generation, yet a majority (56%) are more fearful for their personal safety in 2022 than in the prior two years.

These findings are distressing, but not unforeseen. Legislation targeting LGBTQ people and youth, including censorship in classrooms, book bans, bans on evidence-based healthcare and access to school sports, has ballooned since 2020 to nearly 250 bills introduced in statehouses across the nation. Eight in ten LGBTQ people strongly agree they wish there was more legislative action at the federal level to protect them as an LGBTQ person.

The good news is that the LGBTQ community is aligned, activated, and united. Three out of four LGBTQ adults strongly agree that visibility in society is essential to gaining increased equality and acceptance. A significant majority are committed to maintaining their visibility and supporting everyone in the community. Representation in the media is more important than ever, and 64% strongly agree to feeling proud and supported when there is accurate LGBTQ inclusion in the media, a core mission of GLAAD’s work.

The 2022 Accelerating Acceptance study clearly shows the destructive repercussions of inaccurate rhetoric and baseless legislation, and underscores the necessity of GLAAD’s crucial role in the ongoing fight for full LGBTQ equality and acceptance. The rise in discrimination in public, political, and private spheres makes it very clear that passing the Equality Act, legislation which will secure federal protections for the LGBTQ community in areas of life that have long remained vulnerable, has never been more critical.

GLAAD remains committed to amplifying stories that present audiences everywhere with the richness and humanity of our communities, that challenge harmful narratives, and educate audiences, voters, journalists, and politicians about our everyday lives. This report is more information regarding what’s at stake for LGBTQ people and what all voters need to know.

—Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO, GLAAD

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Accelerating Acceptance 2021

As the LGBTQ community continues to expand and become more visible, the 2021 Accelerating Acceptance study takes a deeper look at non-LGBTQ Americans’ familiarity, comfortability, and understanding of the LGBTQ experience.

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.

However, with expanding visibility does come new challenges for acceptance. While understanding is advancing in some areas, approximately half of non-LGBTQ people find conversations about gender identity and the LGBTQ community complicated or confusing.

An alarming result from the poll shows that LGBTQ people say they’ve experienced discrimination at higher levels in 2021 than last year, with 6 in 10 LGBTQ respondents reporting discrimination based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. During a year when state legislatures across the U.S. introduced an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ bills, many targeting the trans community, the importance of passing the Equality Act has never been more critical.

This year’s Accelerating Acceptance study highlights clear opportunities for education and a redoubled commitment to advancing visibility and representation, particularly responsible and nuanced depictions of trans and nonbinary people, as well as the diversity of identities within the entire LGBTQ community. GLAAD remains hard at work to encourage stories that present audiences everywhere with 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 our lives. Read More

Thursday, September 23, 2021


Fair, accurate, and inclusive news media coverage is vital to expanding public awareness and understanding of LGBTQ people. While recent decades have shown remarkable advancements in accurate reporting on issues affecting our lives and increasingly nuanced portrayals of the incredible diversity within LGBTQ communities, many reporters, editors, and producers continue to face challenges covering LGBTQ issues in a complex, sometimes rhetorically charged climate.

The U.S. South has the highest concentration of LGBTQ Americans of any region, in states without statewide laws protecting them from discrimination. 

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Accelerating Acceptance 2020

In this critical election year, the 2020 Accelerating Acceptance Study takes a deeper look at the general public’s understanding of the landscape of LGBTQ rights in America.

This year’s findings highlight an alarming reality: the majority of Americans, both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ, believe that LGBTQ people have federal protections in areas of life in which they do not. The reality is that there are no consistent and explicit federal anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people in housing, education, public accommodations, and many other areas of life. In 27 states, there are no non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans.

The promising finding from this year’s Accelerating Acceptance Study is that despite the lack of federal protections for LGBTQ people, the majority of non-LGBTQ Americans believe that these protections should exist. This stands in direct contrast to the Trump administration’s over 180 attacks on the LGBTQ community, which continue to target the rights of LGBTQ people and put the most marginalized within our community at greater risk.

The 2020 Accelerating Acceptance Study is a clear reminder that LGBTQ people and allies must turnout in record numbers this November to elect pro-equality candidates who will pass comprehensive legislation like the Equality Act and overturn discriminatory measures imposed on LGBTQ people, like the transgender military ban. Read More


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