LGBT surveys: The good, the bad, and the ugly
A couple of LGBT surveys have come out this year, detailing the current state of the LGBT struggle as well the state of the LGBT community itself in the US. One survey warned that despite last year’s victory at the US Supreme Court, those batting for LGBT equality shouldn’t succumb to ‘victory blindness.’
The same survey pointed out that 29 percent of non-LGBT Americans are still uncomfortable with the imagery of same-sex couples.
On the other hand, a second survey noted that more people are now identifying themselves as bisexual with more men admitting to having same-sex sexual contact.
LGBT surveys: The good
A survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted an increase in the number of people identifying themselves as bisexual.
The study noted that almost 2 percent of men and 1.3 percent of women identified themselves as exclusively homosexual, while 5.5 percent of women and 2 percent of men said they were bisexual.
The latter was an increase from a previous 2010 study that reported 1.2 percent of men identifying themselves as bisexual.
On the other hand, 12.6 percent of women who identified as heterosexual reported having same-sex sexual contact while 2.8 percent of straight men reported having had sex with another man.
More women reported having same-sex sexual contact than men, 17.4 percent against 6.9 percent respectively.
LGBT surveys: The bad
On the other hand, GLAAD, the nation’s LGBT media advocacy organization, recently came out with their Acceptance Report, which was done with the help of Harris Poll.
This report noted that a growing complacency may be developing among non-LGBT Americans, especially those who are comfortable with the LGBT (dubbed as “allies”).
When non-LGBT respondents were asked if they agreed that “gay people have the same rights as everybody else” in the US, 50 percent said yes.
The survey reported that a number of straight Americans also don’t think issues affecting the LGBT community are all that serious, like HIV/AIDS, depression, and acts of violence.
The GLAAD/Harris Poll noted that: “Roughly a third of non-LGBT Americans profess no strong opinion about important LGBT issues. Interestingly, this ambivalence appears across segments, including allies.”
“Complacency is the enemy of social progress,” said GLAAD CEO & President Sarah Kate Ellis.
“2015 was a monumental year for the LGBT community, but marriage equality is a benchmark– not a finish line. The hard work of legislative change must go hand in hand with that which cannot be decided in a courtroom: changing hearts and minds,” Ellis said.
LGBT surveys: The ugly
More importantly, the same survey reported that 29 percent of non-LGBT Americans declared they were uncomfortable seeing a same-sex couple holding hands.
Though this figure is down seven percent from 2014, James Michael Nichols of HuffPost noted that this is still indicative of how much more needs to be done to change minds about the LGBT community.
“These findings show how seductive the media can be, and how we can all be lulled in a false sense of security,” said Michelangelo Signorile, HuffPost Gay Voices Editor-At-Large and the author of the book It’s Not Over.
“The tough challenges ahead are not just about taking on our enemies, who are feeling invigorated and ready for the battle, but also about keeping our allies informed and energized,” Signorile said.
The LGBT surveys were conducted separately, with CDC study having 10,000 respondents with the ages between 18-44 and the Harris Poll having 2,032 respondents aged 18 and older.