Comfort With Gays Ticks Down Slightly in 2017

GLAAD has released a survey of people’s comfort level with various situations in which they interact with LGBT persons. Discomfort is up in every category since last year:

Andrew Sullivan tries to figure out what’s going on:

The question is, why? The mainstream media has no other explanation than, well, Trump, and a culture more tolerant of intolerance. That may well be part of it. But no one seems to notice the profound shift in the tone and substance of advocacy for gay equality in recent years, and the radicalization of the movement’s ideology and rhetoric. That is also surely having an impact.

For a couple of decades, many non-leftists, in the wake of the plague, took more control of the messaging of gay rights….But since Obergefell? As many of us saw our goals largely completed and moved on, the far left filled the void. The movement is now rhetorically as much about race and gender as it is about sexual orientation (“intersectionality”), prefers alternatives to marriage to marriage equality, sees white men as “problematic,” masculinity as toxic, gender as fluid, and race as fundamental. They have no desire to seem “virtually normal”; they are contemptuous of “respectability politics” — which means most politics outside the left.

To his credit, Sullivan prefaces all this with “Let’s not get carried away here.” That’s progress! Writing once a week fits his personality better than daily blogging ever did.

That said, the differences from 2016 to 2017 are all in the range of 2-3 percentage points. That’s basically meaningless, and to the extent it does mean anything I’d say that Trumpism is more than enough to explain it. This is something to keep an eye on, but nothing more.

And one more thing: I can’t pretend to any deep knowledge of gay culture, but the focus on transgender people and academic gobbledegook is at least many years old. And during those years, GLAAD reports declines in the discomfort of dealing with LGBT folks. It’s only in 2017 that it ticked up slightly. You have to really stretch things to suggest that lefty rhetoric was innocuous for years and then suddenly had a big negative effect in 2017.

I say this as no big fan of the academic left and its gobbledegook, but the most likely explanations here are (a) Trump, (b) randomness, and (c) when you get up to the 70 percent level of acceptance, the rest of the way is going to be tough sledding. Basically, you probably have to wait for people to die in order to make further progress. But maybe I’m wrong. We’ll see next year.


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