Study from The Harris Poll Thought Leadership and Futures Practice finds LGBTQIA+ community, especially younger generations, is committed to pushing back against attacks on rights

With new laws, court verdicts, and political rhetoric on marriage equality, trans athletes, gender-neutral bathrooms, drag queen shows, and other issues, new research from The Harris Poll Thought Leadership and Futures Practice finds a near-unanimous belief in the LGBTQIA+ community that their rights are in jeopardy. But the research also reveals the extraordinary levels of that community's political activism - and an unexpected optimism about the long-term future of LGBTQIA+ rights in America.

The study, "Inclusive Insights: LGBTQIA+ & Advocacy," is based on a custom survey by The Harris Poll conducted online within the United States from May 26 to June 1 among 1,110 LGBTQIA+ adults aged 18 and over. (LGBTQIA+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and other identities.)

"You might expect that some people within the LGBTQIA+ community are concerned about their rights, given societal trends and recent events," said Tim Osiecki, Senior Research Manager at The Harris Poll Thought Leadership and Futures Practice. "And indeed, our research shows that the concern is almost universally shared. It also shows that the community - especially younger members from the Gen Z and Millennial generations - is responding with a broad and significant commitment to efforts to preserve those rights and that they ultimately believe the tide will turn."  

A chief finding of the study is that the LGBTQIA+ community is deeply concerned about legislation passed or advancing at the state and federal levels. Respondents were almost unanimous (98%) in their concern that one or more existing rights could be taken away from LGBTQIA+ people. 

Four out of five (81%) agreed with the statement "With hundreds of anti-LGBTQIA+ bills pending legislation in the U.S., I feel very nervous about my rights as an LGBTQIA+ individual." Even more (85%) agreed that "There are many groups within the LGBTQIA+ community that often get overlooked or picked on by politicians and lawmakers."

Respondents' top concerns: 

  • Protection against discrimination in schools (87%) 
  • Discrimination protection in the workplace (85%) 
  • Right to access housing (84%) 
  • Right to get married (83%)
  • LGBTQIA+ inclusive education (83%)

However, the community is far from despairing - LGBTQIA+ people are putting time, energy, creativity, money, and votes into defending their rights. More than nine out of 10 (93%) LGBTQIA+ people reported taking some sort of political action other than voting to defend their rights. 

The study found that the vast majority (84%) of LGBTQIA+ people vote regularly, with 71% voting in federal elections and 67% in local elections - well above typical nationwide marks of about 52% and 12 to 25%, respectively.  

Over half (58%) donate money, about a third march or protest (39%), attend political events (32%), or write letters (30%) advocating for their rights. More than one in three (37%) said they have considered running for political office - and that percentage jumps to 60% among transgender respondents.

The study also found that members of younger generations (Gen Z, Millennials) are more likely to engage in activism than older members of the LGBTQIA+ community - in some areas, twice as likely. For example, 34% of younger LGBTQIA+ people have volunteered or worked on a campaign, compared to 19% of their older counterparts; 29% of younger generations belong to organized groups that engage in political efforts, compared to 13% of older generations.

The study also closely examined specific issues such as the drag queen bans that have received prominent media coverage. Eight out of 10 respondents said they were concerned about those bans (81%) and feared they could "snowball into lawmakers taking away more and more rights" (80%).

In addition, the study focused on issues faced by subsets of the LGBTQIA+ community, people who identify as BIPOC or transgender.  

Almost three-quarters (72%) of queer BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color) members said they had trouble finding communities and resources that understand them, and about two-thirds (64%) have to "code switch" or change how they communicate to fit in with the two communities. Almost half (48%) said they have had to relocate to avoid hostile laws or political environments (compared to 40% of queer non-BIPOC members).  

Possibly reflecting the current political climate, nearly nine out of 10 (87%) trans people agreed with the statement "Our society values humanity in AI and robots more than in trans people." More than six out of 10 (62%) said they have relocated due to hostile laws or political environments. 

And yet, even as they hold deep concerns about rhetoric and legislation and devote themselves to political activism to defend their rights, people in the LGBTQIA+ community still hold optimism about the future. A strong majority (84%) agreed with the statement "I am hopeful that things are going to improve on the LGBTQIA+ rights" and about two out of three said that the improvement might be soon, agreeing that "I think it's likely that things will improve for LGBTQIA+ rights within the next five years." 

"It's clear from this study and our previous work that the country's LGBTQIA+ community believes that though our society has made progress on these issues, we still need to work to preserve and expand the community's rights, and that people believe that progress is not only possible but probable," Osiecki said.

For more information, please visit The Harris Poll Thought Leadership Practice or subscribe to their newsletter, The Next Big Think, for the latest research.

About Harris Poll Thought Leadership Practice

Building on 50+ years of experience pulsing societal opinion, we design research that is credible, creative, and culturally relevant. Our practice drives thought leadership and unearthed trends for today's biggest brands. We are focused on helping our clients get ahead of what is next.

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Original Source: America's LGBTQIA+ Community Deeply Concerned About Losing Rights, But Optimistic About the Long-Term Future, New Harris Survey Shows