Millennials are America’s largest, most diverse generation and an important potential voting bloc. So, now more than ever, it’s important to understand their thoughts on issues that impact all Americans. A new survey created by GenForward called “Millennials Views on LGBT Issues: Race, Identity and Experience” asks questions on these topics and more.
GenForward is a nationally representative survey of millennials led by Dr. Cathy Cohen from the University of Chicago, with samples of African American, Latinx and Asian American Millennials aged 18 to 34. This survey was taken from May 17 to June 3 of this year and it includes interviews with 525 African-Americans, 256 Asian-Americans, 502 Latinx individuals and 553 white millennials. These groups were asked their views on their own sexual identities, their perceptions of discrimination against LGBT people — both within the U.S. and their respective racial and ethnic communities — and their moral evaluations of LGBT relationships. These findings were then analyzed.
· LGBTQ millennials prioritize policies to end bullying of youth and to curtail violent hate crimes over policies that deal with family issues and health (HIV/AIDS) concerns, which were formerly front and center.
· The percentage self-identifying as LGBTQ is at 14 percent — several points above the previously assumed 10 percent and way above the estimated 3 percent as a voting bloc.
· Experiences of discrimination abound, with highest rates in communities of color.
· African-American and Latinx millennials see issues LGBT people face in communities of color as quite different than what mainstream LGBT organizations focus on.
· And, while conventional wisdom tells us millennials are open-minded, they express conflicted views over whether societal acceptance of homosexuality is degrading the country’s moral fiber.
Breakdown of Identity and Connection
· Identifying as LGBTQ. Approximately 14 percent of millennials identify as something other than straight/heterosexual. Larger percentages of Latinx millennials (22 percent) identify as LGBTQ compared with African-Americans (14 percent), whites (13 percent) and Asian Americans (9 percent).
· Group Solidarity. Millennials who identify as LGBT, independent of race and ethnic group, express higher levels of group solidarity, or “linked fate,” with other LGBT people compared to the linked fate millennials who identify as straight/heterosexual feel toward other straight/heterosexual young adults.
· Knowing Someone Who is LGBT. Large majorities of Millennials across race/ethnicity know someone who is gay or lesbian. Fewer, though still substantial amounts of people, know someone who is transgender. White Millennials are the most likely to know a transgender person (36 percent) compared to other racial/ethnic groups (~22 percent).
Breakdown of Discrimination
· Anti-LGBT Discrimination in the U.S. Large majorities of millennials across race/ethnic-city believes there is “a lot” of or “some” discrimination against lesbians, gays and transgender people in the United States.
· Millennials are more likely to say there is “a lot” of discrimination against transgender people compared to lesbians and gays (46 percent vs. 34 percent).
· Anti-LG Discrimination in Racial Communities. Majorities of Latinxs (61 percent) and Asian Americans (53 percent) say there is “a lot” of discrimination against lesbians and gays in their racial community, compared to 43 percent of African-Americans and 27 percent of whites.
· Anti-Transgender Discrimination in Racial Communities. Majorities of Asian-Americans (64 percent) and African-Americans (58 percent) and pluralities of Latinxs (49 percent) and whites (47 percent) say there is “a lot” of discrimination against transgender people in their racial community.
· Racial Tensions in the LGBT Movement. Majorities of African-American (53 percent) and Latinx (50 percent) millennials believe that the issues confronting LGBT individuals in communities of color are very different than the issues being promoted by mainstream organizations. In contrast, the majority of white (58 percent) and Asian-American (54 percent) Millennials believe that all LGBT individuals benefit when mainstream LGBT organizations fight for basic rights.
· LGBT Views of the LGBT Movement. Millennials who identify as LGBT are also more likely (52 percent) to believe that issues confronting people of color who are LGBT are very different from those that are promoted by mainstream LGBT organizations.
Breakdown of Policy Preferences
· Policy Priorities.
– Across racial and ethnic groups, millennials say the two most important issues facing the LGBT community are reducing hate crime violence against LGBT people and ending bullying against LGBT youth.
– LGBT millennials, while clearly concerned with bullying, are concerned with equal employment rights to almost the same degree.
– Adoption. Majorities across racial and ethnic groups support adoption by LGBT parents, though African-American (+4 percent), Latinx (+9 percent) and white millennials (+13 percent) are more likely to support adoption by lesbians and gays than by transgender parents.
· Least Supported LGBT Policies.
– While all the policy proposals had substantial majority support, accepting LGBT immigrants is the least supported policy among white, Latinx and Asian-American Millennials.
– Among African-Americans, the least supported policies are those that allow LGBT people to adopt children.
Breakdown of Norms, Acceptance and Morality
· Need to do More to Accept Transgender People. Majorities of Asian-American (69 percent) and white (52 percent) millennials and pluralities of African-American (49 percent) and Latinx (47 percent) millennials say our society has not gone far enough in accepting people who are transgender.
· Accepting LGBT Children. Majorities of millennials say they could accept their son or daughter being LGBT. White millennials (80 percent) expressed the greatest acceptance toward having a child that identified as LGBT, followed by Asian-Americans (76 percent), Latinx (75 percent) and African-American (68%) millennials.
· Conflicting Attitudes. Despite their general support of policies promoting the equality of LGBT individuals and communities, a significant percentage of African-American (45 percent), Latinx (42 percent), white (34 percent) and Asian American (28 percent) millennials also say increasing acceptance of homosexuality is causing a deterioration of morality.
· LGBT millennials. Of millennials who identify as LGBT, over one fifth, or 21 percent, believe that homosexuality is a moral detriment, while among millennials who identify as straight, 40 percent agree that homosexuality is damaging to society’s moral values.
A total of 1,886 interviews were conducted representing the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The survey was offered in English and Spanish and via telephone and web modes. The full report on this data can be found at the GenForward website: GenForwardSurvey.com/reports .