In a reversal of trends, recent polls are showing for the first time that more than half of older Americans approve of “gay or lesbian relations.” According to a Gallup poll, 51 percent of Americans 55 and older consider the new pro-LGBT landscape “morally acceptable.”
It’s the first time in the poll’s history, which recorded the same group’s acceptance at 27 percent in 2000. From 2001 to 2013, LGBT approval amongst older Americans was below 50 percent.
In the same poll, 74 percent of young Americans from ages 18 to 34 were accepting of LGBT issues, while those between 35 and 55 were at a mere 54 percent.
One reason for the rise in acceptance among older Americans may be the increasing visibility of LGBT culture.
LGBT issues have been dominating the news in recent years, such as openly gay celebrities in sports and entertainment, the legalization of marriage equality in the US and internationally, as well as the Boy Scouts of America’s policies and the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” military legislation. There is also zero tolerance of LGBT discrimination in some venues, as demonstrated by the fining of homophobic athletes, musicians, and politicians.
Many advertisements are also exposing LGBT culture to older Americans. Companies like Amazon, IKEA, Levi’s, Kaiser, Google, American Airlines and Diageo/ROKK Vodka have released gay-friendly ads.
“A lot has changed in the past two years. There’s no more boycotts or negative press,” GLAAD’s VP of Communications Rich Ferraro told 429Magazine in February. “Americans expect to see gay and lesbian couples and families in the media today. The advertising industry may not be exposed to LGBT issues as much, like television, but they are catching up.”