Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Are You Better Off?

That was the question that was asked by PEW researchers last week, here are some of their results…
A Survey of LGBT Americans
Attitudes, Experiences and Values in Changing Times
June 13, 2013

An overwhelming share of America’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults (92%) say society has become more accepting of them in the past decade and an equal number expect it to grow even more accepting in the decade ahead. They attribute the changes to a variety of factors, from people knowing and interacting with someone who is LGBT, to advocacy on their behalf by high-profile public figures, to LGBT adults raising families.
The survey finds that 12 is the median age at which lesbian, gay and bisexual adults first felt they might be something other than heterosexual or straight. For those who say they now know for sure that they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, that realization came at a median age of 17.
Hmmm… I wonder what it was for trans-people? Was it younger? But wait! When you look at the data it turns out that the survey was mostly LGB… surprise! Only 5% of those surveyed identified as transgender.
This report is based primarily on a Pew Research Center survey of the LGBT population conducted April 11-29, 2013, among a nationally representative sample of 1,197 self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults 18 years of age or older. The sample comprised 398 gay men, 277 lesbians, 479 bisexuals and 43 transgender adults.
Woopie! Imagine that they interview a whopping 43 trans-people! About 9/10s of the survey was about lesbians, gays and bisexuals and you have to go way down to the bottom of the article to find anything about trans,
Because of the small number of transgender respondents in this survey (n=43), it is not possible to generate statistically significant findings about the views of this subgroup. However, their survey responses are represented in the findings about the full LGBT population throughout the survey.
Yup, once again the lesbians, gays and bisexuals speak for us.

To answer my first question about coming out at an earlier age, from the limited amount a data they did find the trans-people did come out at an earlier age. Usually before puberty, which make sense because you form your gender identity at a younger age, your “Id,” a sense of who you are before you form your sexual identity.

Even through the survey had a small trans population it did have some interesting comparisons and the survey is worth reading, there is a lot of interesting data in it. One of the ones I thought interesting was the question on “Social Acceptance” where,
Respondents were also asked to assess the level of social acceptance for specific LGBT groups: gay men, lesbians, bisexual men, bisexual women and transgender people. Across the LGBT population, bisexual women and lesbians are viewed as being more accepted by society than gay men, bisexual men or transgender people. There is a significant gap in perceptions about the extent to which society accepts gay men and lesbians. One-in-four LGBT adults say there is a lot of social acceptance of lesbians, while only 15% say there is a lot of acceptance of gay men.

Similarly there is a gap in views about social acceptance of bisexual women and men. One-third of all LGBT adults say there is a lot of social acceptance for bisexual women; only 8% say the same about bisexual men.

LGBT adults see relatively little social acceptance for transgender people. Fully eight-in-ten say there is only a little (59%) or no (21%) social acceptance of this group. Only 3% say there is a lot of acceptance, and 15% say there is some.
Yup, we are the black sheep of the family.

Here is another non-surprise…
Among both gay men (52%) and lesbians (47%), fewer say they have a lot or some common concerns and identity with transgender people.
Only about a quarter of bisexual men (24%) and about four-in-ten bisexual women (38%) say they have a lot or some in common with transgender people; pluralities of both bisexual men (51%) and bisexual women (39%) say that they feel they do not have any common concerns and identity with transgender people.
… while 47% of lesbians feel a sense of commonality with transgender people, that share rises to 58% among those who say being lesbian is extremely or very important to their overall identity.
Another non-surprise, 57% of the LGB people survey said marriage was important while only 29% said that health insurance for trans-people was important.

One more section that I found interesting was about why the change in attitude has happened.
Respondents were asked about the various factors that may have contributed to increased acceptance of people who are LGBT. Individual relationships and the role of well-known public figures are viewed as being the most helpful things in terms of fostering acceptance. Fully seven-in-ten LGBT adults say people knowing someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender helps a lot, and 24% say this helps a little.
I think this is the main reason why the change in attitudes. We are no longer the anonymous, we are your neighbors, we are your fellow workers, we are family, we shop where you shop and we are your customers.

I came out the closet in 2001 and a lot has changed since then and I think that in another ten year we (the trans-community) will not be discriminate against openly but behind our backs, we still won’t have true equality.

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