A survey of just under 1,200 American adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender shows that 92% feel like they have become more accepted in the past decade.
But that doesn’t mean it’s been easy according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the experiences and attitudes of the LGBT population released this week.
About 39% say that at some point in their lives they were rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, 30% say they have been physically attacked or threatened, and 29% say they have been made to feel unwelcome in a place of worship.
In addition, 21% say they have been treated unfairly by an employer and 58% say they’ve been the target of slurs or jokes.
A surprisingly high number of LGBT adults have still not yet come out to one or both or their parents. While 86% say they have come out to a close friend, just 56% have told their mother about their sexual orientation or gender identity, and 39% have told their father.
The main reasons given for not sharing the information with a parent was that they either didn’t feel it was important to share or that the subject never came up.
‘I always felt she already knew,’ said a 57 year old gay male surveyed. ‘I always meant to have "the conversation" but the time never seemed right.’
Said a 25-year-old bisexual woman: ‘Unless I decide to be with a girl long term, there is no reason for him to know.’
But some cite religion as a reason for their silence.
‘The only thing holding me back from being open about my sexuality is the very strong religious Christian views that most of my family has,’ said a 26-year-old gay man who was surveryed. ‘I have come out and been open with anyone and everyone who I know won’t judge me based on their religious views and have yet to encounter any negative responses or discrimination.’
Among the other findings:
* More than half (56%) of LGBT adults consider themselves to be Democrats, just 8% identify as Republican and 30% are independent.
* Lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender adults are, on the whole, less religious than the general public. About half (48%) say they have no religious affiliation, compared with 20% in the general public.
* Among LGBT Catholics, two-thirds (66%) say the Catholic Church is unfriendly toward them, just 6% see the Church as friendly and 26% say it is neutral.
* Just before the Supreme Court is set to rule on two cases involving same-sex marriage, 58% of LGBT adults have a favorable view of the institution while 40% view it unfavorably.