Public perception of LGBTQ rights gets it all wrong: survey
While public support for the rights of LGBTQ people has greatly increased over time, public perception of LGBTQ rights is still largely incorrect, according to a survey done by Reuters/Ipsos.
That is, almost half of all Americans believe that LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation via federal law.
This highlights the importance of the passage of the Equality Act passed last month at the Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives.
This legislation would codify anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people into federal law.
Public perception of LGBTQ rights: By the numbers
The poll for Reuters/Ipsos was conducted by the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles and was released during New York’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots.
These spontaneous protests later pushed the rise of the worldwide movement for LGBTQ equality.
The poll noted that 45 percent of respondents believe that anti-discrimination protections at the federal level already exist for LGBTQ people.
Of this number, 40 percent are aged 18-34 and 57 percent are registered Republicans. Twenty three percent said they were not protected at the federal level.
Likewise, one out of three knew that transgender people were not protected from gender identity discrimination under federal law.
The rest said they didn’t know, or they believed that transgender people already have federal protection.
Public perception of LGBTQ rights in areas
Most Americans also don’t think that religious objections should be a reason to deny service to an LGBTQ person in business (57 percent), healthcare (64 percent, or employment (62 percent).
However, only 20 percent said the LGBTQ people are treated “about the same” in the US military, whereas 43 percent said they’re treated worse.
Furthermore, 43 percent of Americans believe LGBTQ people are treated “about the same” as people who don’t identify as LGBTQ in getting healthcare from doctors and hospitals.
Seventeen percent said they are treated worse, and about one in three said they don’t know.
The poll for Reuters/Ipsos was conducted online from May 29-30 and June 5-6 throughout the US among 2,237 adults.
Reaction to public perception of LGBTQ rights
Proponents of the Equality Act have said that this disconnect between public perception and actual protection shows a need to create support for the legislation.
This is significant, especially as the Republican-controlled Senate and the Trump administration have aired their position to oppose the bill on because they “undermine parental and conscience rights.”
“We’re working so very hard to set a ground game about the Equality Act so that people understand that their common perception is mostly wrong,” warned Stacey Long Simmons, director of advocacy and action at the National LGBTQ Task Force.
Meanwhile, Charlotte Clymer, Human Rights Campaign’s press secretary for rapid response, said that discrimination against the LGBTQ people is “flying under the radar for most Americans.”
“When you talk to people across the country, regardless of where they stand on LGBTQ equality, so many don’t know that in 30 states LGBTQ people are still at are risk of being fired solely because of their gender identity or sexual orientation,” Clymer said.