Most Americans believe LGBTQ+ people face discrimination in the US

Jamie BallardData Journalist
June 29, 2021, 6:30 PM UTC

As Pride Month draws to a close, many people are reflecting on the history of the LGBTQ+ community in the United States and the discrimination that many LGBTQ+ Americans continue to face. 

A YouGov poll of more than 1,400 Americans, including 127 who self-identify as LGBTQ+, suggests that many feel progress has been made when it comes to protecting the legal rights of LGBTQ+ people, but a majority say that this group still faces social discrimination.   
 
Close to two-thirds (63%) of LGBTQ+ Americans say that in the US, LGBTQ+ people face social discrimination and that their rights are not legally protected enough. About one-third of Americans overall (34%) agree. 

Roughly three in 10 (29%) Americans say that LGBTQ+ people don’t face much social discrimination, and that their rights are legally well-protected. Only 14% of LGBTQ+ Americans agree with this opinion.  

Majorities of LGBTQ+ people believe that LGBTQ+ people face discrimination in the workplace  

Around four in five LGBTQ+ Americans agree that “LGBTQ+ individuals often have to hide their sexual orientation due to fear of discrimination in the workplace” (79%) and “LGBTQ+ individuals face discrimination in the workplace due to their sexual orientation (78%). About half of Americans overall agree with these statements (54% and 52%, respectively).  

Majorities of LGBTQ+ people also say that LGBTQ+ people often must hide their gender identity – meaning their personal sense of their own gender, which may differ from the sex they were assigned at birth – at work (76%) and that LGBTQ+ people face discrimination at work due to their gender identity (76%).  

Around seven in 10 LGBTQ+ people believe that career development or promotion opportunities for LGBTQ+ people are negatively impacted by their sexual orientation (71%) and/or their gender identity (69%). Among Americans overall, 45% agree for both statements.  

Just over half of Americans say the state of LGBTQ+ rights will improve in the next several years  

Although roughly two in five Americans believe the legal rights of LGBTQ+ Americans are not currently well-protected, many have an optimistic outlook for the future. About half of Americans (53%) think the state of LGBTQ+ rights in the US will improve in the next five years. Fewer (37%) think things will not change at all, and just one in 10 (10%) believe things will get worse.  

Among LGBTQ+ Americans, 63% think the state of LGBTQ+ rights in the US will improve. About one in five (17%) think things will not change, and slightly more (21%) believe things will get worse.  

See full results here.  

Related: Are your 20s really the best years of your life? What Americans think

Methodology: 1,452 US adults, including 127 who personally identify as LGBTQ+, were surveyed between June 8 - 14, 2021. The responding sample is weighted to be representative of the US population. 


Image: Gender Spectrum Collection