Young African-Americans are not being reached by LGBT rights campaigns, poll finds

Young people from an African-American background are less likely to be reached by arguments for LGBT rights as support surges among other groups, a poll has found.

The GenForward Survey, carried out by Black Youth Project at the University of Chicago, polled a number of under-30s from a range of ethnic backgrounds on a number of social issues.

The poll found a large majority in favour of LGBT rights across all ethnic groups – with 92 percent supporting HIV prevention, 90 percent equal employment rights, 80 percent adoptions by gay and lesbian couples, and 71 percent LGBT youth services overall.

Across four LGBT issues polled, large surges in support were recorded between 2014 and 2016 among most ethnic groups – but the surge was not reflected among African-American youth, where support remained stable.

Critics have long accused LGBT rights groups of a “white-centric” approach that often fails to reach out to people of colour.

On same-sex parenting, 84 percent of Asian-Americans and 75 percent of Latinos supported gay couples adopting, with large jumps in support in the last two years.

But among African-Americans, only a moderate rise in support was recorded, from 64 percent in 2014 to 69 percent in 2016.


Support for equal employment rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals was also slightly lower among African-Americans, with support staying stable at 82 percent – while surging among Latinos and non-Hispanic whites to 88 percent and 92 percent.

However, African-Americans were just as likely as non-Hispanic whites to support police sensitivity training on trans issues – and more likely to approve of government support for organisations that provide services to LGBT youth.

The report states: “It has been widely documented that public sentiment in support of policies that advance LGBT rights like same sex marriage has evolved rapidly over the past few decades.

“Much of the reporting on this shift has focused on the overwhelming support for LGBT rights among young adults.

“But rarely has past research broken down support for LGBT policies by race and ethnicity.

“Previous research conducted in 2014 by the Black Youth Project reported that large majorities of young African Americans, Latina/os, and whites support a range of policies extending rights and benefits to LGBT individuals.”

It continues: “On our July survey we asked four identical questions to those used in our 2014 survey to assess how public opinion among young adults has changed over the past few years on this rapidly evolving policy agenda.

“Young adults, particularly young whites and Latino/as, have become even more progressive in their support for a range of LGBT policies over the past two years.

“For example, support for allowing gays and lesbians to legally adopt children increased by 5 percentage points between 2014 and 2016 among African Americans, 10 percentage points among Latino/as, and 15 percentage points among whites.”