After years of steady growth in acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and agenda, a new poll has found that support is eroding with more people reporting feelings of discomfort about LGBTQ issues.
The poll, conducted by The Harris Poll and commission by the LGBTQ activist group, GLAAD, was the first time in four years that support for this demographic showed a negative trend.
Called the “Accelerating Acceptance” report, it had been showing an increase in the number of Americans who said they felt more comfortable around LGBTQ people and more supportive of their issues.
“This year, the acceptance pendulum abruptly stopped and swung in the opposite direction. More non-LGBTQ adults responded that they were ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ uncomfortable around LGBTQ people in select scenarios,” reports Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO of GLAAD.
There was a definite drop in acceptance for LGBTQ people with less than half of non-LGBTQ adults (49%) report being “very” or “somewhat” comfortable with LGBTQ persons in certain situations. This represents a decline from last year which found 53 percent reporting that they felt at least somewhat comfortable around LGBTQ persons.
Some of the situations that are making the non-LGBTQ public more uncomfortable this year than last year are learning that a family member is LGBTQ (30% vs. 27%); that their child’s teacher is LGBTQ (31% vs. 28%); that their doctor is LGBTQ (31% vs. 28%).
The report also found an increase in the number of LGBTQ persons who experienced discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity (55% vs. 44%).
Ellis blamed much of the decline on the tenor of discourse over the last year with 2017 seeing heightened rhetoric toward marginalized communities.
“Policies and headlines ran that were anti-LGBTQ including the President’s proposed ban on transgender people entering the U.S. military, confirmation of a Supreme Court justice opposed to marriage equality, and the passage of a state law in Mississippi which allows businesses to legally deny service to LGBTQ families.”
She also cited a slip in LGBTQ visibility in news and entertainment, saying that “Americans can no longer see LGBTQ stories that change hearts and minds with the same frequency.”
Some of the shows that were cancelled recently include The Real O’Neals which was about a gay child in an Irish Catholic household. In addition to low ratings, the show’s content was highly offensive to Christians, which undoubtedly played a role in the decision not to give it a third season.
This cancellation follows a long list of others such as The New Normal, Go On, Smash, The Office, 1600 Penn, Happy Endings, 90210, Emily Owens, M.D., The L.A. Complex, Partners, and Southland, all of which featured gay or lesbian characters. These shows were all cancelled due to mediocre ratings.
Another problem is the growing disdain among the American population for LGBTQ activists who attempt to force Christian business owners out of business for not agreeing to provide services for their weddings.
Poll after poll has shown that anywhere from 68 to 71 percent of Americans do not believe that a Christian business owner should be forced to provide services for a same-sex wedding if it violates his or her religious beliefs. Because these cases tend to generate headline news coverage, it has made many Americans turn sour on the LGBTQ agenda.
However, the Harris poll did find that 79 percent of U.S. adults say they support equal rights for the LGBTQ community and an end to discrimination against this demographic.
This position is in keeping with the Church’s teaching that although homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered,” LGBTQ persons “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided” (Catechism No. 2357).
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