Gays and Lesbians: They’re Everywhere! They’re Everywhere!

Three quarters of Americans know someone who’s gay or lesbian, compared to two fifths back in 1992.   Brian Montopoli:

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.

The increasing visibility of gay and lesbian Americans appears to have contributed toward more positive perceptions of homosexual relations. Forty-three percent of Americans currently see homosexual relations between consenting adults as “wrong” – a drop of 19 percentage points from a Gallup poll taken in 1978.

There has been a slight decrease in the percentage of Americans who do not object to homosexual relations compared to January of last year, when 54 percent said they are not wrong. But nearly half (48 percent) still say they see nothing wrong with homosexual relations, an increase of 23 points from the 1978 poll.

Americans under 30 tend not to object to homosexual relations, while those over 65 are likely to disapprove of them. Democrats, liberals and (to a lesser extent) independents and moderates generally do not disapprove, while Republicans and conservatives generally do.

This isn’t remotely surprising.  But I would suggest that the direction of the causality isn’t clear.  As homosexuality has become more accepted — through exposure in the pop culture, mostly — gays and lesbians have been more apt to live openly, at least among their friends and loved ones.  And that, in turn, has meant that more of us know gays and lesbians as ordinary folks with different sexual proclivities rather than as bogeymen or the flamboyant “lifestyle” types that dominated media coverage a couple decades ago.

via Joshua Foust

FILED UNDER: Gender Issues, Public Opinion Polls,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. legion says:

    It’s also why so many Americans – even within the military itself – are in favor of repealing DADT. It’s just the old-school last-generation senior officers who don’t wanna…

  2. Highlander says:

    Of course everyone knows a gay person, the neurosis of homosexuality is now rampant.

    A very good sign that August 9, 378 AD is very near JUST AS IT WAS IN ANCIENT ROME.

    I don’t give a damn how long t the “NUT BAGS OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION” say that homosexuality is just another normal form of human behavior.

    SELF SELECTED….GENETIC SUICIDE AIN’T NORMAL!

  3. tom p says:

    Funny, I first became aware of homosexuality at the tender age of seven….

    In 1965 in Dallas Texas. Truth is it had been there all along, I just wasn’t in tune with the fact that my mothers cousin lived a very normal and productive life with another woman until I reached 7. Of course, by then it was, “And so what????”

    My sons were about the same age when they brought up my roommates homosexuality, My little sister said, “Boys! That’s not nice!” They looked at her with great puzzlement and I had to explain to her that “nice” or not, it was true.

    I don’t give a damn how long t the “NUT BAGS OF THE AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION” say that homosexuality is just another normal form of human behavior.

    Highlander, it is not just a ‘human behaviour’… many animals engage in it (beleive me, I once spent 3 months on an island in the Canadian wilderness with 2 dogs that would give each other BJ’s every morning while I drank my morning coffee… Life is not kind at 5 am.

    SELF SELECTED….GENETIC SUICIDE AIN’T NORMAL!

    Actually, it is quite normal. I had 3 childless couples of Aunts and Uncles in my family (out of 9 surviving)(the others made up for the loss) and have read many explanations of this behaviour… but none that were quite satisfactory. STILL… it is a behaviour well documented in the human race (and others).

    I once got into a rather “heated” discussion with a woman who told me she was childless by choice (all men were sh*t)(no, she wasn’t gay), said she did not want to contribute to the problems of the world. I said she was committing “genetic suicide” and BOY DID I CATCH 2 KINDS OF HELL!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. tom p says:

    James, I hate the new format. can you bring back the old commenting tags? I ‘html’d”(????) my reply to highlander, italicizing ONLY his comments and you see what happened. Maybe I am too stupid to do this, but it used to be so easy….

  5. “A very good sign that August 9, 378 AD is very near…”

    Oh? Actually its about 1,632 years away…

    Or did you mean metaphorically in relation to events happening now?

    In which case I can assure you (after my recent move to the southern border) that Visigoths are not amassing on our border. Perhaps they are amassing up near the Canadian border, but really I would expect the Lietenses to amass there–the climate you know.

    Or has Siyah K’yak began to replace Mayan kings with relatives of Spearthrower Owl? If so, Guatemalans are gonna be pissed.

    Or do you mean the Pope is embroiled in a scandal involving improper sexual relations? Because I can assure you that….oh shit….

  6. James Joyner says:

    James, I hate the new format. can you bring back the old commenting tags? I ‘html’d”(????) my reply to highlander, italicizing ONLY his comments and you see what happened.

    Not sure why it went away. Something to do with the tinkering to get the site running faster. Will get it back as soon as I can.

  7. floyd says:

    The same social forces which forced disapproval a couple of generations ago are now forcing approval.
    As you say…”This isn’t remotely surprising.” neither is it enlightenment to any greater degree.
    Modern media allows smaller and smaller groups to weld the club of conformity more and more efficiently.

  8. floyd says:

    Typo … “weld” should read “wield”