National Poll: Straight people "satisfied" with the way they treat LGBTQ+ Americans

Share this Post:
Photo by Lukas Pexels
Photo by Lukas Pexels

Sixty-two percent of Americans are "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with the "acceptance" of Gays and Lesbians, according to a new Gallup Mood of the Nation poll.

"Mood of the Nation" is a series of monthly topical polls conducted by Gallup, using samples of at least 1,000 respondents. The January poll — which is where these numbers come from — asks questions about an assortment of policy areas.

According to Gallup, we should be happy about these results because the numbers of "satisfied" people are up from 2021 (when 55% were "satisfied") and 2020 (56%).

Jeff Jones, a senior editor at Gallup, commented that the question shows that Gay and Lesbian people are "being considered not an outsider group but a normal, mainstream group of people in the US."

He said this data demonstrates a shift from a time "where the public was kind of opposed to treating them the same as everybody else to one where that's definitely the norm."

"It just speaks to changes in societal norms that we've seen over the past, really, two decades," Jones said.

"When we used to ask about same-sex marriage, in the 1990s and even in early 2000s, we would have majorities opposed. And now we have solid majorities that seem to grow at least a little bit every year."

There are reasons for LGBTQ+ people to be skeptical, however.

Photo by Los Muertos Crew / Pexels  

First, the question itself excludes important portions of the LGBTQ+ community — those that fit in categories other than "Gay and Lesbian." From the outset, therefore, the poll erases Trans people, Nonbinary people, and others whose basic rights are certainly not "accepted" in many areas of the country.

Second, Gallup weights these polls for race and ethnicity, but not for sexual orientation. We know, for example, that Black and Latinx Americans participated in the poll in representative numbers, but we don't know if any LGBTQ+ people participated.

We also have no way of knowing what the responses of LGBTQ+ people might have been if they did participate. Were we as "satisfied" as our straight neighbors?

Third, the categories themselves are ambiguous. What does it mean to be "satisfied"? If I'm a middle-aged Trump supporter in Alabama, looking at the fact that LGBTQ+ people have achieved some legal protections — but still have to cope with many legal and social barriers — am I "satisfied" that they've come far enough, or am I "dissatisfied" that they've come too far?

And what does "acceptance" mean? Merely formal legal equality, like the legal right to marry? Merely workplace protections? These rights are important, of course, but how many LGBTQ+ people feel fully at home in US society?

In short, the Gallup results tell us that straight people are pretty much OK with the way they treat us, but they say nothing about how happy we are with the treatment.