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Poll: Discomfort with LGBTQ Americans rising among the young

BY MARINA PITOFSKY - 06/24/19 02:06 PM EDT

The percentage of young non-LGBTQ Americans who were either “very” or “somewhat” comfortable around LGBTQ people decreased for the second year in a row in 2018.

According to GLAAD’s annual Accelerating Acceptance Index, which was released Monday, 45 percent of non-LGBTQ Americans ages 18-34 said they were comfortable around LGBTQ people, or were “allies,” in 2018. This is a dip from the 53 percent of the age group who said they were allies in 2017 and the 63 percent who said they were allies in 2016.

Although the percentage of allies is down among people ages 18-34, GLAAD reported the decrease between 2017 and 2018 was smaller than the decrease between 2016 and 2017.

The drop was based mostly on young women, USA Today reported. Sixty-four percent of non-LGBTQ women said they were allies in 2017, as opposed to 52 percent in 2018.

“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,” GLAAD said in a press release.

“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,” the organization continued.

The rates of allies in young non-LGBTQ populations also dropped in multiple social situation. Thirty-six percent of 18-34 year olds said they were uncomfortable learning a family member was LGBTQ, compared with 29 percent in 2017 and 24 percent in 2016. The percentage of non-LGBTQ young people who said they were uncomfortable with their child learning a school lesson on LGBTQ history jumped from 30 percent in 2017 to 39 percent in 2018.

“We count on the narrative that young people are more progressive and tolerant,” John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, which conducted the survey on GLAAD’s behalf, told USA Today. “These numbers are very alarming and signal a looming social crisis in discrimination.”

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