A recent nationwide survey of 1,750 millennials (ages 18 to 34) found solid support for LGBTQ rights and protections, with one small eyebrow raising statistic.
Political science professor Cathy Cohen facilitates the bimonthly GenForward poll and focused the June survey on LGBT issues, titled Millennial Views on LGBT Issues: Race, Identity, and Morality.
Cohen shared her thoughts on the results in an essay with The Advocate.
To a great degree, the results were encouraging.
Of those polled, 14% identified as “something other than heterosexual.”
While a majority of respondents say they know someone who is gay, lesbian or bisexual, only 22% of millennials of color and 37% of white millennials say they know someone who is transgender.
As we’ve seen throughout the past few decades, its visibility that helps move LGBTQ rights and respect forward.
When it comes to LGBTQ equality, a majority of millennials either “strongly” or “somewhat” favor adoption by LGBTQ folks, legal protections to prevent discrimination in the workplace, allowing transgender people to serve openly in the military, increasing government spending on HIV/AIDS and accepting more LGBTQ immigrants from countries with hostile policies towards our community.
There was widespread support for reducing violent hate crime and LGBTQ bullying. However, according to the survey, 53% of African-American millennials and 50% of Latinx millennials feel the issues LGBTQ people face today are different than those promoted by mainstream LGBTQ organizations.
Contrast that to white (58%) and Asian-American (50%) millennials who say everyone benefits when mainstream LGBTQ organizations strive for human rights.
The one eyebrow raising piece of data emerged from the question, “Has homosexuality led to a deterioration of morality in this country?”
A majority disagreed with the statement, but a surprising 41% agreed.
And – 21% of the LGBTQ respondents agreed as well.
So, one-in-five LGBTQ millennials believe their own sexuality is a negative when it comes to morality in the United States?
Is this self-loathing in action?
Cohen noted that that question was the only occurrence of the word “homosexuality” in the survey. She hypothesizes that the word itself is still a trigger in American culture as “something bad and deviant.”
She also wondered if “homosexuality” might hold a different meaning for millennials than LGBTQ which is used more and more in social media.
Cohen concludes by writing, “It should remind us of all the work that remains to be done and how little we should take for granted when it comes to educating young people about the reality of LGBTQ lives, especially the lives of young queers of color.”
Check out the full essay at The Advocate.