News & Opinion | June 24, 2019 2:31 pm

Millennials Aren’t as Tolerant as They Like to Think They Are

The big driver of this downward spiral? Young women.

LGBT youth in America
Young people in America are moving towards being less tolerant of the LGBT community. (Noel Celis/ AFP/ Getty)
AFP/Getty Images

The LGBT community in America has more rights and freedoms today than at any other point in history. But a recent report discovered that those advancements aren’t sitting well with the country’s youth — the very group thought of as the most tolerant around.

The next time you come in contact with a dismissive young person who assumes he or she, and their entire generation, is much more open and understanding than you are, tell them about this year’s Accelerating Acceptance report, which looks at how LGBT Americans are perceived by their straight peers.

Among those aged 18 to 34, only 45 percent said that they were comfortable interacting with LGBT people in 2018. That’s down from 53 percent in 2017 and from 63 percent in 2016, USA Today reported.

The big driver of this downward spiral? Young women. Women in this age group were accepting of LGBT people in 2017 at a rate of 64 percent — a figure that dropped to 52 percent in 2018.

“We count on the narrative that young people are more progressive and tolerant,” John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll, the company which conducted the poll on behalf of LGBT advocacy group GLAAD, told USA Today. “These numbers are very alarming and signal a looming social crisis in discrimination.”

When GLAAD itself dove into the numbers, the group discovered that young people were more recently coming into contact with more members of the LGBT community and those who consider themselves to be non-binary, or not simply straight or gay, a concept that might be met with confusion or opposition.

“This newness they are experiencing could be leading to this erosion,” GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told the newspaper. “It’s a newness that takes time for people to understand. Our job is to educate about non-conformity.”

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