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Generation Z ‘extremely concerned’ about LGBTQ+ rights, survey says

The Hill logo The Hill 6/21/2022 Brooke Migdon
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Story at a glance

  • Nearly two-thirds of Generation Z between the ages of 18 and 25 years old say they are worried about the state of LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S., according to new survey data from Toluna.
  • The survey data comes during a record-breaking year for state legislative attacks against LGBTQ+ people.
  • In a recent Gallup poll, more than 20 percent of Generation Z said they identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Nearly two-thirds of Generation Z is worried about the future of LGBTQ+ rights, including a quarter who say they are “extremely concerned,” according to new survey data from the market research firm Toluna.

The survey, which collected responses from more than 1,000 Generation Z between the ages of 18 and 25, found that most young people in the U.S. are deeply anxious about the state of LGBTQ+ rights, which some have speculated could be in jeopardy as the Supreme Court appears prepared to overturn Roe v. Wade.

The data also comes during what is shaping up to be the worst year in recent history for state legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ people, with more than 300 bills introduced in state legislatures this year that directly target the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organization.

Some of those bills have already become law. In Florida, the Parental Rights in Education law, known to its critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, is set to take effect July 1. Public school teachers under the measure will be barred from addressing sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom.

Video: How the LGBTQ community is still fighting for rights years after Stonewall (USA TODAY)


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In Alabama and Arizona, legislation was passed to restrict access to gender-affirming health care for transgender youth. And in nine states this year, transgender athletes have been banned from playing on sports teams consistent with their gender identity.

That Generation Z, in particular, has expressed elevated concern for LGBTQ+ issues is not entirely surprising. In a highly publicized Gallup poll published in February, it was revealed that roughly 21 percent of Generation Z born between 1997 and 2003 identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

That’s nearly double the proportion of Millennials identifying as LGBT, according to the Gallup poll, and close to five times the share of Generation X who say they are LGBT. Just 2.6 percent of Baby Boomers identify as LGBT, according to Gallup.

A recent report from the Williams Institute, a public policy think tank researching issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, found that nearly one-in-five people who are transgender are between the ages of 13 and 17, doubling another Williams Institute estimate from 2017.

In a June report, researchers at the Pew Research Center found that adults under 30 are more likely than older adults to identify as transgender or nonbinary. They’re also more likely to know someone who is transgender, according to the report, making them more likely to support policies that benefit transgender people and oppose policies that negatively target them.

Despite mounting concern over the future of LGBTQ+ rights in the U.S., this year has seen some movement in advancing LGBTQ+ equality.

Last week, President Biden signed an executive order addressing recent anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and introducing new safeguards for inclusive health care and housing. The Biden administration this year also made gender-neutral passports widely available to nonbinary Americans.

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