Pew Releases Results of First-Ever Survey of America’s LGBT population

The study shows that 92 percent of LGBT Americans believe society has become more accepting, while 58 percent believe there's still too much discrimination.

Just in time for the Supreme Court’s imminent ruling on same-sex marriage, the Pew Research Center (PRC) has released its first-ever survey of America’s LGBT population — and boy is it a whopper. The study is part of PRC’s report series LGBT in Changing Times, and it attempts to measure everything from our views of social acceptance in the U.S. and experiences with discrimination to our behavior on the web.

The survey was conducted between April 11-29, 2013 and culled from a sample of 1,197 lesbian (277), gay (398), bisexual (479) and transgender (43) adults. The subsequent report is a massive 158-pager, so instead of dumping all that on you, I’m going to break down some of the more-important findings: 

On the subject of societal acceptance, 92 percent believe there has been improvement in the past decade, but at the same time, 53 percent say there “is a lot of discrimination today.” This series of findings backs up the latter, more-negative view:

  • 39 percent of those surveyed say that at some point in their lives they were rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • 30 percent say they have been physically attacked or threatened
  • 29 percent say they have been made to feel unwelcome in a place of worship
  • 21 percent say they have been treated unfairly by an employer
  • 58 percent say they have been the target of slurs or jokes

On same-sex marriage:

  • Not surprisingly, 93 percent of those surveyed support the right for gays and lesbians to marry
  • Yet 39 percent say the debate has taken away focus on other important issues to the LGBT community
  • 60 percent are either married or say they would like to marry one day, compared with 76 percent of the general public

On the coming-out process:

  • 59 percent have told one or both of their parents, and a majority say most of the people who are important to them know about this aspect of their life
  • 56 percent say they have come out to his or her mother and 39 percent have told his or her father
  • 43 percent of respondents say they have revealed their sexual orientation or gender identity on a social-networking site
  • 12 is the median age at which LGB adults realized they were not straight
  • 20 is the median age in which they started telling the world about it

On gender and race:

  • 66 percent of lesbians and 68 percent of bisexual women are more likely to be in a committed relationship, compared to 40 percent of gay men and 40 percent of bisexual males
  • White people are more likely than non-white people to say society is very accepting of LGBT people (58 percent vs. 42 percent)
  • 37 percent of non-whites say there is a conflict between their sexual orientation and religion, compared to 20 percent of whites

The survey goes on to measure what views are most important to the LGBT community (hint: it’s equal employment rights at 58 percent) to what public figures are most responsible for promoting LGBT acceptance (hi, Mr. President and Ellen.) You can read the entire study, here.

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