The same week that a new report found that LGBTQ killings have increased 86% since President Trump took office, another survey reveals that overall support for LGBTQ people declined in 2017 — for the first time in that poll’s history.
The Harris Poll, a public-opinion survey which began in 1963, has been measuring attitudes toward LGBTQ people for the past four years. It found a significant increase in the number of LGBTQ respondents who said they had experienced discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. That number was 55 percent — an 11-point increase in one year.
It also reported a notable reversal in positive attitudes among non-LGBTQ people. Thirty percent of respondents said they would be “very uncomfortable” or “somewhat uncomfortable” if they learned a member of their family was LGBTQ — a three-point increase from 2015 and 2016.
Additionally, 31 percent of non-LGBTQ respondents said they would be uncomfortable with their child having an LGBTQ teacher. That’s the highest number in the poll’s history: In 2014, 30 percent expressed discomfort, compared to 29 percent in 2015 and 28 percent in 2016.
The poll also showed a shift from “allies” to “detached supporters.” The poll defined”allies” as “non-LGBTQ respondents who were either ‘very’ or ‘somewhat’ comfortable in all situations” involving LGBTQ identity, and “detached supporters” as “non-LGBTQ respondents whose comfort level varied across situations.” This year, 51 percent of those surveyed said they were “allies,” while 35 percent were “detached supporters.” Last year, the numbers were 53 percent and 33 percent respectively.
“In the past year, there has been a swift and alarming erosion of acceptance which can only be fought by being visible and vocal,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told NBC News. “This report puts numbers to the bias that too many LGBTQ Americans have recently experienced.”
Ellis said the decline in LGBTQ support was attributable to the policies and actions of the Trump administration. The reversal “can be seen as a dangerous repercussion in the tenor of discourse and experience over the last year,” she said. “2017 brought heightened rhetoric toward marginalized communities to the forefront of American culture. Policies and headlines ran that were anti-LGBTQ including the President’s proposed ban on transgender people entering the U.S. military, confirmation of a Supreme Court justice opposed to marriage equality, and the passage of a state law in Mississippi which allows businesses to legally deny service to LGBTQ families,” Ellis added.
Earlier this week, the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs released a report which found that LGBTQ killings had almost doubled in one year. The NCVAP recorded 52 LGTBQ hate-based homicides in 2017 ― an average of one each week. In 2016, there were 28.