HRC Blog

New Poll Explores the LGBT Experience in America

Post submitted by David McCabe, HRC Digital Media Intern

LGBT Americans feel positively about the direction their country is headed in, but still regularly face multiple forms of discrimination and harassment.

That’s one conclusion of a sweeping new survey from the Pew Research Center. Ninety-two percent of poll respondents said that the country has become more accepting of their LGBT identities in the last decade.

Despite this rising tide of societal acceptance, the poll also produced further evidence that LGBT individuals are still subjected to harassment simply because of who they are that makes it difficult for them to live their lives happily and free of fear. Close to a third, 30 percent, of the individuals polled said that they had been physically attacked or harassed and 58 percent said that they had been the target of slurs or jokes.

The survey also painted a picture of the daily discrimination faced by LGBT individuals. Twenty-nine percent of respondents told Pew that they had been made to feel unwelcome in a place of worship. To learn more about HRC’s ongoing efforts to encourage a dialogue between the LGBT and faith communities, visit www.hrc.org/religion.

Twenty-one percent said they had been unfairly treated by an employer, and the individuals polled identitified employment discrimination, along with marriage equality and treatment for HIV/AIDS, as the top three issues they care most about. The Human Rights Campaign is fighting hard to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. We are also asking President Obama to sign an executive order banning such discrimination among federal contractors. This action is broadly supported by Americans of all stripes and would send a message that anti-discrimination protections for LGBT individuals is good for business and good for America.

While the survey is another piece of evidence showing that there is still much work to do in the fight against LGBT discrimination, it also showed how far the LGBT community has gone in the last decade. Of all of the LGBT individuals surveyed, a majority said that they are out to all or most of the important people in their lives. A majority of respondents said that coming out to their parents did not negatively affect their relationship with either their mother or their father, and 92 percent said that they believed that society would become more accepting in the decade to come.

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