Adults are generally more knowledgeable and comfortable with gay, lesbian, and bisexual identities compared to transgender and nonbinary identities.
Two-thirds of adults report personally knowing someone who identifies as gay or lesbian, while fewer than 1 in 3 know someone who is transgender, and fewer than 1 in 5 know someone who is nonbinary.
March 31, 2022 — The Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) youth, released new polling data today that highlights U.S. adults’ personal knowledge of LGBTQ people, understanding of LGBTQ identity terms and pronoun usage, and comfort levels around if their child came out as LGBTQ. The poll was conducted by Morning Consult between Feb. 18-19, 2022 among a national sample of 2,210 adults. The full polling data can be found here.
Nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults (62%) said they would be comfortable if their child came out to them as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, while only 13% would not be comfortable at all. Comparatively, exactly half of all adults said they would be comfortable if their child came out to them as transgender or nonbinary. Fewer than 1 in 5 would not be comfortable at all if their child came out as transgender (18%) or nonbinary (16%). However, 72% of all adults said they are confident that they would be able to understand and support their child if they came out as transgender and/or nonbinary.
“Knowing how vital a parent’s love and support is for suicide prevention, it’s encouraging to see a majority of adults express comfort with having LGBTQ kids. But we still have a lot more work to do to increase understanding of transgender and nonbinary youth,” said Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project. “The clear association between adults knowing someone who holds a particular LGBTQ identity and feeling comfortable with that identity emphasizes the need to amplify trans voices, increase the diversity of LGBTQ representation in media, and improve public education around sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Nearly half (49%) would be comfortable if their child started using they/them pronouns rather than he/him or she/her, while nearly 1 in 5 (19%) would not be comfortable at all. Adults who were aware of people using gender-neutral pronouns generally were more comfortable about the prospect of their child using they/them pronouns. Further, adults who were unaware of gender-neutral pronouns were 2.4 times more likely to lack confidence in their ability to understand and support their transgender and/or nonbinary child.
Fewer than 1 in 3 adults (29%) personally know someone who is transgender and only 17% know someone who is nonbinary. This is compared to two-thirds of adults who reported personally knowing someone who is gay (69%) or a lesbian (65%). Surprisingly, only 48% reported knowing someone who is bisexual. Among adults who did know someone who is transgender or nonbinary, 67% knew one or two people, and only 9% knew more than seven people — compared to 20% of adults who knew more than seven gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, or pansexual people.
Only 3% of adults did not understand the term “transgender,” while 12% did not understand the term “nonbinary.” Nearly 1 in 5 adults (19%) did not understand the term “pansexual.”
If you or someone you know needs help or support, The Trevor Project’s trained crisis counselors are available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386, via chat at TheTrevorProject.org/Get-Help, or by texting START to 678678.
About The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the world’s largest suicide prevention and mental health organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people. The Trevor Project offers a suite of 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention programs, including TrevorLifeline, TrevorText, and TrevorChat as well as the world’s largest safe space social networking site for LGBTQ youth, TrevorSpace. Trevor also operates an education program with resources for youth-serving adults and organizations, an advocacy department fighting for pro-LGBTQ legislation and against anti-LGBTQ rhetoric/policy positions, and a research team to discover the most effective means to help young LGBTQ people in crisis and end suicide.