For the first time ever the “Accelerating Acceptance” report conducted by GLAAD has revealed a *decrease* in America’s acceptance of LGBTQ people.
According to the study, Americans are, as of this moment in the history of our country, notably less accepting of LGBTQ people then they were four years ago. Americans reportedly disapprove of LGBTQ citizens dramatically more than they did before marriage equality was passed by the Supreme Court in 2015.
The study reveals that 49 percent of non-LGBTQ Americans stated that they were “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people. That means that less than half of the country approves of their fellow LGBTQ citizens. A notable and disturbing drop in statistics, as 53 percent of Americans reported that they were “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ people last year. 30 percent of the study’s participants reported that they would be “uncomfortable” if they were to find out that a family member identified as LGBTQ, an equally-disturbing 27 percent rise from last year.
31 percent of Americans that were polled revealed they were not comfortable with being medically treated by an LGBTQ doctor and 31 percent also reported that they would be uncomfortable if their children were to be educated by an LGBTQ teacher.
Given these statistics, it shouldn’t come to a surprise that 55 percent of LGBTQ Americans that participated in the GLAAD survey reported that they have experienced outward discrimination because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity, an 11 percent increase from last year.
This study was GLAAD’s fourth annual “Accelerating Acceptance” survey, which took place online, this November 2017, less than a year into the Trump presidency. The survey polled 2,160 adults, 1,897 of which identified as “non-LGBTQ.”
The results of the “Accelerating Acceptance” survey reveals that there has been a statistical reversal in the progress of LGBTQ acceptance since the election of Donald Trump. Since Trump took office there have been remarkable attacks against the legal rights of LGBTQ people.
Let’s start with the (attempted) ban on transgender soldiers in the military. “After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming. Victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” Donald Trump stated via twitter, on July 26th, 2017. According to Time.com, “The 2016 RAND study estimated that between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender service members are in the active duty military, while between 830 and 4,160 members are in reserves duty.”
Lest us on not forget that Trump administration also rescinded a nonbinding Obama-era guidance that ensured that public schools that receive federal funding must protect trans students under federal civil rights law, including their right to use bathrooms and locker-rooms that align with their gender identity. The Trump administration squashed the guidance altogether, stating that “trans students aren’t protected under federal civil rights law.”
“Reversing this guidance tells trans kids that it’s OK with the Trump administration and the Department of Education for them to be abused and harassed at school for being trans,” stated American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten.
The Department of Health and Human Services enacted a new regulation and created an agency, the “Division of Conscience and Religious Freedom” last January, that “protected” health care providers’ “religious liberties.” The agency gave medical professionals the legal right to discriminate against LGBTQ patients and refuse to provide them with medical services. In short: A doctor or nurse has legal protection from the federal government to discriminate against an LGBTQ patient, due to “religious” or “moral” objections.
“Today’s actions represent promises kept by President Trump and a rollback of policies that had prevented many Americans from practicing their profession and following their conscience at the same time,” said Acting HHS Secretary Eric Hargan, said in a press statement, last January.
On top of all that, Lambda Legal revealed that nearly a third of Trump’s judicial nominees hold anti-LGBTQ records.
Trump also fired every single member of the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. It doesn’t take a political analyst to see that Trump’s firing had anti-gay undertones. According to the CDC the highest population of HIV positive people are gay and bisexual men. There are reportedly more than 600,000 gay and bisexual men living with HIV in America.
Trump administration also refused to recognize Pride month and made sure that the Pride flag did not fly on federal property on National Coming Out Day. While these incidents bear no legal ramifications, their message is as loud as it is clear.
The Trump administration’s stance on the rights of LGBTQ Americans is a dramatic contrast from the Obama administration’s efforts to protect the civil liberties of LGBTQ Americans. Obama was the first sitting president to support same-sex marriage. The Obama administration designated the birth of the gay rights movement, The Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, as a national monument. Obama reversed “Don’t ask, don’t tell” and was an open and vocal advocate for the tolerance of LGBTQ people across the world.
“In the past year, there has been a swift and alarming erosion of acceptance which can only be fought by being visible and vocal,” stated GLAAD’s President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “This report puts numbers to the bias that too many LGBTQ Americans have recently experienced. GLAAD is fighting the rollback by enlisting philanthropic leaders like the Ariadne Getty Foundation and global changemakers attending the World Economic Forum to use their platforms and move our community forward.”