LGBT Americans Feel More Accepted, But Still Claim Discrimination

While the overwhelming majority of respondents shared a positive outlook, they have also felt stigmatized.

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From left: Andrea Grill and Lee Ann Hopkins, from Alexandria, Va. kiss after becoming engaged during a rally outside of the U.S Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on March 26, 2013.

In its first-ever survey of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, the Pew Research Center found that while respondents to its online survey feel more accepted by society than they did a decade ago, much more progress is needed before they will be fully accepted by the mainstream or even by those who are close to them. Their struggles include everything from being rejected by friends to physical attacks or threats by others.

Overall, the report — which was released today and includes the responses of 1197 people in the LGBT community — indicates great strides in terms of the group’s feelings of inclusion in American society. Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center, tells TIME, “9 in 10 of LGBT surveyed feel they have become more accepted in the past decade and just as many say they expect the acceptance to increase in the coming decade. In our business, when you see those numbers, that’s pretty dramatic. But that needs to be kept in perspective, because while these are the best of times, that doesn’t mean it’s the easiest time. Even in a time of feeling more socially accepted, fewer than 6 in 10 have told their mothers about their sexual orientation or gender identity and fewer than 4 in 10 have told their fathers–that suggests the complicated realms of their lives.”

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While the survey indicated that the group as a whole is more more satisfied with the direction of the country than the general public, its members have frequently faced rejection and discrimination in the past. About 60% say they have been the target of slurs or jokes. 40% said they were rejected by a close friend or family member due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. 30% say they had been physically attacked or threatened, and 21% claim they have been unfairly treated by an employer.

When it comes to overall social acceptance, respondents felt that the general public was most accepting of bisexual women and least accepting of transgender individuals. Similarly, lesbians were perceived as more socially accepted than gay men. Only 3% of survey respondents say there is a lot of acceptance of transgender adults.

The study also asked respondents about their coming out process. 12 is the median age when LGBT adults first felt they might be something other than heterosexual or straight. For those who now know for sure that they are LGBT, they realized it at a median age of 17. Gay men reported coming out to their family at an earlier age than lesbians and bisexuals.

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When it comes to politics, a significant proportion of the LGBT population reports being socially and politically active. 5 in 10 say they have both bought products made by a company that’s LGBT friendly and have refused to buy products from companies that were not. 3 in 10 have donated to politicians who support LGBT rights. Besides the hot political button of same-sex marriage, employment rights, HIV and AIDS prevention are also top issues they feel most strongly about. When asked in an open-ended question who they felt as most responsible for advancing LGBT rights, the most commonly cited person was President Barack Obama, with television host Ellen DeGeneres trailing closely in numbers.

While this is the first time Pew has surveyed the LGBT community, others have taken a look in recent years. A 2011 survey by the Williams Institute at UCLA found that 9 million Americans—about the population of New Jersey–identify as an LGBT and that bisexuals comprise a slight majority over lesbians, gays, and transgender.

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10 comments
3a899c
3a899c

To the "sin remains sin"-party on the discussion:

I'm Christian myself, but the way I see it federal laws are not about governing relationships between people and God, they are about governing relationships between people. LGBT is stated as sin in Leviticus, but so are a lot of other things, for example is divorce. I guess most have come to accept that the legal possibility for two people to part again as a necessity. Of course God doesn't like it, but he still accepts it and loves every one of us. What other people think about the divorced couple is absolutely irrelevant because it's non of their business.

nickojul
nickojul

Yes sin remains sin, and an abomination like homosexuality and lesbianism is just it. Try explaining to a child which is the father or mother in a gay relationship and vice versa in a lesbian relationship. Does not nature laugh at one. Do we have gay dogs and lesbian dogs? What is not normal that is an aberration is celebrated by people that should know better.  Equating the God of heaven to Zeus is a big laugh. Where is Zeus today or Thor a relic of the past. But where is the true Christian faith today growing greater and stronger. Listen to the voice of reasoning and stop trying to re-invent the wheel. Lets call a spade a spade Lesbianism and homosexuality is an abomination, PERIOD.

cloudninegirl
cloudninegirl

These people aren't "accepted" like they think they are. They have forced their lifestyle to be accepted through lawsuits and protests, and they have crammed their preference for sinful sexual behavior - that is NOT NORMAL - down the American people's throats. Sin is sin. You can't cover it up and can't hide from it. You also can't force people to accept homosexual sin when we all know it's wrong.

nickojul
nickojul

The USA was used by the Lord who raised up godly men that gave us the gospel, through which the values of democracy were propagated and a free world through the bastion of democratic principles were unleashed to the World After WWII the UN was formed and its seat was New York  Because  a nation that fears God and respect him will surely be exalted. What do we have today, a people that threw out the prayer and the bible from schools and embraced the ideologies of men, from what was a shame and an abomination is now embraced and celebrated called gay rights. What condemned Sodom and Gommorrah to a pile of ashes is now been celebrated from the highest seat of office called the White House. How do we explain two women coming together or men romantically involved and we say its right. Common sense tells us like forces repel but opposite attract. Its a delusion and a pity, the great American nation is on its way down just like the mighty Roman empire.  We celebrate lesbianism and homosexuality where even the Russia has banned the so called evil nation. Kudos to you the so called leader of the free world.

ToddGilbert
ToddGilbert

I think that's because men think of two hot woman having sex. They wouldn't care for a fat butch chick. Young girls think it's trendy and it gets guy's attention. All the groups are down on bi guy's. 

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

ROFLMFAO . ( And yes I am straight ) .

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@nickojul 


Live your own life and mind your own business


I could just as easily tell you that I think bible thumpers are an abomination and should not be tolerated because they think a hypocritical book from the Iron Age was authored by a God who has been proven to exist just as much as Zeus or Thor.

nickojul
nickojul

@Hadrewsky @nickojul

Yes sin remains sin, and an abomination like homosexuality and lesbianism is just it. Try explaining to a child which is the father or mother in a gay relationship and vice versa in a lesbian relationship. Does not nature laugh at one. Do we have gay dogs and lesbian dogs? What is not normal that is an aberration is celebrated by people that should know better.  Equating the God of heaven to Zeus is a big laugh. Where is Zeus today or Thor a relic of the past. But where is the true Christian faith today growing greater and stronger. Listen to the voice of reasoning and stop trying to re-invent the wheel. Lets call a spade a spade Lesbianism and homosexuality is an abomination, PERIOD.

Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/06/13/lgbt-americans-feel-more-accepted-but-still-claim-discrimination/#ixzz2WAWnszjs

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@nickojul 

What you call sin is an artifact of your contemptible faith.... what you call a sin is really a silly idea indeed

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@nickojul @Hadrewsky 


Faith ,matters not at all... You have FAITH in a silly God who is the same as a Thor or Zeus. EXCEPT you BELIEVE.... your belief matters not in the reality of a being's existence.

What you dont have is proof that Zeus is any less real than your abominable Christian God