UNSAFE IN AMERICA: ANNUAL GLAAD ACCELERATING ACCEPTANCE STUDY FINDS SHARP INCREASE IN LGBTQ AMERICANS EXPERIENCING DISCRIMINATION

June 22, 2022
  • Seven in ten LGBTQ people report personally experiencing discrimination this year, up 11% from a year ago, and a disturbing increase of 24% from 2020 
  • A majority of transgender and nonbinary people do not feel safe walking in their own neighborhoods 
  • Need for the Equality Act: 79% of LGBTQ Americans strongly support federal legislative action to protect them

(New York, NY - Wednesday, June 22, 2022) - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today announced the findings of its eighth annual Accelerating Acceptance Study, showing a sharp increase in LGBTQ Americans experiencing discrimination, particularly among queer people of color, transgender and nonbinary people and Gen Z LGBTQ Americans.

A significant majority of the LGBTQ community—70%—says that discrimination has increased over the past two years. They reported discrimination 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.

Read the full report here.

The GLAAD report found more than half (54%) of transgender and nonbinary people feel unsafe walking in their own neighborhoods, compared to 36% of all LGBTQ adults. 

LGBTQ people of color are 91% more likely to also experience discrimination based on their race or ethnicity. 

2022 Gallup research found more Gen Z Americans are out as LGBTQ (20.8%) than any other generation. GLAAD’s study shows a majority (56%) of Gen Z LGBTQ people are more fearful for their personal safety in 2022 than in the prior two years. 

Statement from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis:
“GLAAD’s research 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. Misinformation and false rhetoric from anti-LGBTQ lawmakers has real life consequences and gives a permission slip to discriminate against LGBTQ people and target them, as happened in Idaho with the arrests of white supremacists plotting to attack a Pride event, and the suspect in the mass murder of Black Americans in Buffalo targeting trans people in his “manifesto.” Every LGBTQ person and ally must use this information to speak up and hold elected officials, news media, and social media platforms accountable to actions and rhetoric that make everyone less safe. GLAAD’s study proves a need for The Equality Act that would protect every LGBTQ American, protections supported by a vast majority of all Americans. The Senate must pass it immediately and secure the core value of treating people equally into law.”

Additional findings from GLAAD’s 2022 Accelerating Acceptance Study: “Unsafe in America”:

  • Seven in ten LGBTQ Americans report personally experiencing discrimination, up 11% from a year ago, and up 24% from 2020. 
  • 78% of non-LGBTQ adults inaccurately associate the term “LGBTQ” with being mostly about sexual orientation.
  • 61% of Black, Indigenous, and other queer people of color also face discrimination based on their race or ethnicity, compared to 32% of all LGBTQ adults.
  • More Gen Z adults are out as LGBTQ than any previous generation (20.8%), and report higher levels of discrimination over the last two years compared with all LGBTQ people. 
  • 79% of LGBTQ people strongly support more federal legislative action to protect them as an LGBTQ person.

As in previous years, respondents for the Accelerating Acceptance Study were 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, the same percentage as reported in 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.

Additional research:

  • PRRI: 79% of all Americans support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
  • Gallup: A record high 71% of Americans support marriage equality, seven years after the landmark Obergefell ruling legalizing it nationwide.
  • Freedom for All Americans: at least 225 bills have been proposed in state legislatures across the country targeting LGBTQ people and youth access to healthcare, school sports, LGBTQ and race-inclusive books and curriculum
  • American Library Association: The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services, resulting in more than 1,597 individual book challenges or removals in 2021, the majority of them books about LGBTQ people and issues and books about race and racism. This is the highest number of attempts to ban books since ALA began its tracking thirty years ago. 

Methodology:
Two studies were conducted for the report this year.  The Accelerating Acceptance Study was conducted online in February 2022, among a national sample of 2,536 U.S. adults, age 18 or over, using sample sourced by Cint (who has the world's largest consumer network for digital survey-based research).  Another study was conducted online April 28 to May 9, 2022, among a national sample of 1,705 U.S. LGBTQ adults, age 18 -74, using a sample sourced by Community Marketing & Insights (CMI). Participation was from all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The panel used for the research was a random sample of CMI’s proprietary research panel of 50,000 LGBTQ community members in the United States. The panel was developed over a 20-year period through continuing partnerships with more than 300 LGBTQ publications, websites, blogs, social media, apps, influencers, events, and organizations.  The survey has a margin of error of ±2.70% at a 95% level of confidence.