Record number of Americans support LGBTQ+ rights, report finds

Support for LGBTQ+ rights in America is at an all-time high, according to a study by leading queer advocacy organisation GLAAD.

Its ninth annual Accelerating Acceptance study shows 84 per cent of non-LGBTQ+ Americans support equal rights for the queer community, while 70 per cent agree companies should publicly support the community.

But GLAAD said the report showed there was a “significant lack of understanding and familiarity for non-binary and transgender people”, noting that only 28 per cent of non-LGBTQ+ Americans say they personally know a trans person.

“Universally, non-LGBTQ Americans overwhelmingly agree that LGBTQ people should be free to live their lives and not be discriminated against,” the organisation said. “Yet, GLAAD knows that a majority of LGBTQ people are experiencing discrimination.”

“There is also universal agreement that schools should be safe and accepting places for all youth, and children should be taught to appreciate and accept people as they are.”

The report reveals that 91 per cent of straight Americans believe that LGBTQ+ people should have the freedom to live their life, free from discrimination, while 96 per cent say schools should be safe and accepting places.

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GLAAD also said the study “directly correlates how the epidemic of anti-LGBTQ legislation and online hate leads to higher levels of real-world harm for LGBTQ+ people, including, but not limited to, discrimination and violence”.

It also argued for heightened representation of non-binary and transgender experiences in all types of media because of the lack of understanding and familiarity.

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The organisation’s president and chief executive, Sarah Kate Ellis, said the report’s findings were a “clear demonstration that fair and accurate representation” in the media could have “have a powerful and measurable effect on the lives of LGBTQ people”.

However, noting that the US was at a “critical junction” in terms of LGBTQ+ acceptance and safety, “allyship must turn into action”, she urged.

“Media, content creators and corporate leaders need to lead and respond to hate with undeterred support for the LGBTQ community, including employees, shareholders and consumers,” she said.

“Allyship is not easy, but when values of diversity, equity and inclusion are tested, we must defend them unequivocally.”

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