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For the first time in years, a stunning report by the Harris Group and the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), shows a striking decline in tolerance of the LGBTQ community by the American people.


By Nathan James

In its annual “Accelerating Acceptance” summary, GLAAD cited the ascendancy of Donald Trump, and the related rise of white supremacy, homophobia, and transphobia, as drivers of this trend. “This report puts numbers to the bias that too many LGBTQ Americans have recently experienced,” Said Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD’s president. “Acceptance of LGBTQ people is slipping, and discrimination is increasing, in the face of attacks, bias, and erasure by the Trump administration.”

 

The yearlong study found that 49% of Americans felt “very” or “somewhat comfortable” around LGBTQ people, down from 53% last year’s survey, and that 31% said they would not want their child taught by a gay, lesbian, or trans educator, up from 28% in 2016. Additionally, nearly a third of those polled said they were “uncomfortable” seeing same-sex couples displaying affection, such as holing hands in public, and 30% would respond negatively if a family member came out. Those numbers, too, represent increases from last year, and point to a disturbing pattern, says John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Group. “In a single year, we’ve seen significant declines from what had been an increasingly accepting America to one now less supportive.

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See the full Accelerating Acceptance report here: https://www.glaad.org/publications/accelerating-acceptance-2018

 

Since Trump’s inauguration, he has taken very visible steps to roll back advances in LGBTQ rights, including ejecting all transgender troops from the armed forces, reversing President Barrack Obama on Title IX protections for transgender schoolchildren, and recently signing an executive order permitting doctors and hospitals to refuse treatment to LGBTQ patients, a potentially deadly edict. These actions have coincided with an alarming increase in anti-LGBTQ hate crimes, particularly against trans men and women of color.

The annual murder rate for Black transgender people is currently six times the national average for the 15-to-24 age group, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This increase in violence also correlates with the election of Trump, advocates say. “This is horrifying,” says Don Draper, of the Anti-Violence Project.

The reports findings mark the first time a “year-to-year decline in LGBTQ tolerance” has been recorded, the Harris Group notes, “this is a radical shift.”