The political, legal, and cultural victories of the past decade have led many LGBT activists and allies to believe that the kind of complete “acceptance” GLAAD is after was not only inevitable but imminent. So much so, they became impatient not only with people who overtly disagreed with them, but even with those who were a little ambivalent or expressed a “live and let live” attitude. Their attitude could be summed up in the words of the German poet Goethe: “To tolerate means to insult.”
For the past five years, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, has conducted a survey of U.S. adults measuring what it calls the “accelerating acceptance” of LGBT people. Up till now, they’ve used these survey results to drive home the “right side of history” narrative that seems so effective for the movement.
The survey asks people to describe how they feel about being around LGBT people, from “very comfortable” to “very uncomfortable,” in seven hypothetical situations, such as having gay people at their place of worship, or learning that a family member is transgender, to name just two. As you might expect, until recently, the survey has shown an increased acceptance of LGBT people, but the results for 2018 are in, and GLAAD isn’t happy about them.
While the overall results among all adults “remained stable,” the survey showed that people between the ages of 18 and 34 “are becoming increasingly ‘uncomfortable’ with at least some of the hypotheticals.” If that’s not what you expected from Millennials and “Generation Z,” you’re not alone. As GLAAD’s press release put it, “The younger generation has traditionally been thought of as a beacon of progressive values.”