GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, has announced the findings of its sixth annual Accelerating Acceptance Study, a national survey among U.S. adults conducted using a sample sourced by Cint. The study measures American attitudes towards, and understanding of, LGBTQ people.


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This year, the Accelerating Acceptance Study found that a majority of Americans, both LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ, believe that LGBTQ people have federal protections in areas of life in which they do not. Non-LGBTQ respondents were more likely than LGBTQ respondents to believe LGBTQ people  have federal protections in various situations. 



Although there are no comprehensive federal protections for LGBTQ people in any of these situations, the majority of non-LGBTQ Americans believe that these discriminatory situations should be illegal.


As in previous years, respondents were also asked about their comfortability with LGBTQ people across seven different scenarios: learning a family member is LGBTQ, learning their doctor is LGBTQ, having LGBTQ members at their place of worship, seeing a same-sex couple holding hands, seeing a gay/lesbian co-worker’s wedding picture, having their child placed in a class with a LGBTQ teacher, and learning their child has a lesson on LGBTQ history in school.


This year, GLAAD included the letter ‘Q,’ which stands for queer, to questions about comfortability with and understanding of ‘LGBTQ’ people.


The study found that non-LGBTQ people are most comfortable with having LGBTQ members at their place of worship or seeing a gay or lesbian co-worker’s wedding picture, while they are the least comfortable with learning their child has a lesson on LGBTQ history in school.


“The findings from this year’s Accelerating Acceptance Study highlight a dangerous reality: a significant majority of Americans, even within our own community, are not aware that LGBTQ people are not federally protected from discrimination in many areas of life,” said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Although we have witnessed landmark decisions for marriage equality and non-discrimination workplace protections in the last few years, the general public’s lack of understanding about the state of LGBTQ rights in America is largely due to the fact that our issues and lives are still being largely left out of the national conversation, especially during the 2020 election cycle when so much is at stake for LGBTQ people. With a large majority of Americans expressing that federal law should protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in areas of life in which they are currently not protected, it is more crucial than ever that we elect pro-equality candidates who will pass comprehensive legislation like the Equality Act and remove discriminatory measures imposed on LGBTQ people, like the transgender military ban.”


Despite landmark Supreme Court decisions for marriage equality and the expansion of non-discrimation employment protections, discrimination against LGBTQ people is still an alarming reality. There are significant gaps in protections for millions of employees of smaller businesses and religious institutions. Additionally, there is an ongoing lack of protections for all LGBTQ people in housing, health care, education and public accommodations across the country. Currently, 27 states have no non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans.


During the Republican National Convention in August, GLAAD released an ad called “The Conversation,” which aired across broadcast and digital channels to show the personal consequences of the lack of protections for LGBTQ people against discrimination. The advertisement ends with a call for viewers to support the Equality Act, which extends comprehensive protections against LGBTQ discrimination including in housing, education, and public accommodations. Viewers are directed to to take action and learn more about the information in the ad. In May 2019, the House of Representatives passed The Equality Act, 236-173. It has not moved in the U.S. Senate, nor even come up for a vote. GLAAD’s ongoing research through the Trump Accountability Project tracks the Trump administration’s anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and policy. Since taking office in 2017, the Trump administration has attacked LGBTQ people over 180 times, including his opposition to The Equality Act.


In one of the administration’s most recent attacks, the U.S. Senate confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday following President Trump’s nomination in September. Barrett is known for her anti-LGBTQ record, including time served as a trustee of a school that discriminated against LGBTQ families, stating views against marriage equality, and associations with extremist groups promoting dangerous policies against LGBTQ youth and work to undermine legal rights of LGBTQ people. Barrett testified, under oath, that she “has never” and “would not ever” discriminate on the basis of ‘sexual preference, a term used by groups that Barrett has worked for to inaccurately suggest sexual orientation is a choice, and therefore changeable by harmful conversion therapy that these groups advocate for. During the confirmation hearings, Barrett also refused to say that the marriage equality ruling under Obergefell was correctly decided, which has alarmed many LGBTQ and legal advocates.


GLAAD is currently engaged in a 100 Days of Action campaign to educate LGBTQ people about what's at stake during the 2020 election and to increase LGBTQ turnout at the polls in November. GLAAD’s recently released ‘State of LGBTQ Voters’ poll found that LGBTQ voters are highly motivated and prepared to vote. The poll also found overwhelming support from LGBTQ voters for Vice President Joe Biden (76%) in a head-to-head matchup against President Trump (17%). Among the remaining likely LGBTQ voters, 5% planned to vote for another candidate and 2% remained unsure. Additionally, 53% of LGBTQ respondents from the poll reported experiencing anti-LGBTQ discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.


Until ABC’s Town Hall with Vice President Biden on October 15, LGBTQ issues have been largely absent from the 2020 election cycle. GLAAD has been reaching out to debate and town hall moderators to offer resources and data about where LGBTQ voters stand and the issues important to the community, and to advocate for LGBTQ inclusion in nationally televised Presidential candidate debates and town halls. GLAAD will continue to hold the candidates and the media accountable to the nearly 15 million LGBTQ Americans, whose very lives are at risk from policies inflicted by the Trump administration. GLAAD also released its Election Issues Guide for Journalists, which gives an overview of LGBTQ issues to ask any candidate running in this pivotal election.