Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Do you know someone gay?

CBS news has done a poll.

Seventy-seven percent of Americans now say they know someone who is gay or lesbian, a new CBS News poll finds - an increase of 35 percentage points since 1992, when a majority of Americans said they did not.

More than six in ten Americans say they have a close friend, work colleague or relative who is gay or lesbian. Just 22 percent say they do not know anyone at all who falls into that category.

Those who know someone who is gay or lesbian are less likely to disapprove of homosexual relations than those who do not. More than half of those who know someone who is homosexual do not see homosexual relations between consenting adults as wrong. On the flip side, more than half of those who don't know anyone who is homosexual say such relations are wrong.

These data trend similarly to the recent Gallup poll on GLBT acceptance I told you about previously:

But CBS tells us how you ask the question matters

The terminology used in polling has a small impact on responses on the issue. Asked if "homosexual" relations are wrong in the poll, 43 percent said yes. But asked if "same-sex" relations are wrong, that percentage dropped to 39 percent.

And while 51 percent see being "homosexual" as something people are born with, a slightly smaller percentage, 47 percent, say being "gay or lesbian" is something people are born with.

This is why it is SO IMPORTANT to come out, even though it means coming out over and over and over again. One person at a time. For example, much of my writing is on religious blogs, although I'm not a believer. But it's important to bear witness in a community that trends most negative. One woman told me that she hadn't really "gotten" that a marriage means just as much, in the same, way to a GLBT couple as to a straight couple. That we were just people, who love our partners deeply. In some small way, I helped open her eyes.

Come out, come out....


Paul said...

I trace my own change in attitude to conversations with gay people my freshman year in college. (Gad, that was probably 36 years ago!) The initial conversation started a process that took some time, but at least it got started. And, I began to think about real people, not stereotypes or abstract ideas. That's an important point.

IT said...

Paul, I think it's THE most important point.

Erika Baker said...

I second what Paul says - and that although I knew at the time I was bisexual myself! It's astonishing how we can be influenced by prejudice even when we know it's wrong!

NancyP said...

Even lesbians and gays can have anti-transgender/transsexual prejudice if the only T people they see are strangers in bars.