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