A new Harris poll reveals that most Americans have a way to go before they’ll be comfortable with gay people.
While a majority of Americans support marriage equality, the survey revealed that 34% would be uncomfortable actually attending a same-sex wedding (22% said they’d be “very uncomfortable”). A substantially larger group (43%) said they’d be uncomfortable bringing a child to the wedding of a same-sex couple.
But it’s not just marriage: Some 36% of respondents admitted they’d be uncomfortable even seeing a same-sex couple holding hands. When it came to their children, 29% said they’d be uncomfortable bringing their kid to a playdate at the home of a gay dad (28% felt that way about lesbians mom, and 40% with a transgender parent).
Acceptance for trans people has a lot further to go: 59% of those surveyed said they’d be uncomfortable to learn their child was dating a trans person, and more than 30% would be uncomfortable playing on a sports team with a trans teammate.
The report, commissioned by GLAAD, is comprised of data taken from two surveys conducted in August and November of 2014, each with roughly 1,800 respondents. Other scenarios resulted in varying levels of acceptance.
The survey underscores the importance of visibility: Nearly half (47%) of those who don’t know any LGBT people say seeing a same-sex couple holding hands makes them uncomfortable. That percentage drops to 30% among those who have LGBT family members, to 25% among those with an LGBT coworker and to just 17% among those with a close LGBT friend.
“Closing the gap to full acceptance of LGBT people will not come from legislation or judicial decisions alone, but from a deeper understanding and empathy from Americans themselves,” said GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Accelerating acceptance will require the help of not just LGBT people, but also their allies – everyday Americans who feel strongly and take an active role to make sure that their LGBT friends and family are fully accepted members of society.”