It’s obvious that the country is changing in sentiment. At least 74% of people born after 1981, classified as “millennials,” according to the Huffington Post, support gay marriage. A slightly larger number of millennials believe that people who identify as LGBT should be accepted by society. These numbers are lower among Generation X and Baby Boomers, at 49% and 38% respectively.
Another poll released by ABC News and the Washington Post shows that 81% of people between the ages of 18-29 support gay marriage. This poll tracked sentiments regarding gay marriage from 2004 up to this year, showing a complete reversal in the majority of public opinion. While in 2004, 55% of the public was against gay marriage; that number has reduced to 36% now. Along party lines, the number of people who support gay marriage has also increased in every group. While Democrats and Independents boast high numbers of support — 72% and 62% respectively — Republicans have had a 10 point increase to 34% in 2013.
Why are millennials supporting the LGBT community in such high numbers? Turns out that they are twice as likely to identify as liberal than those who are 65 and above. Additionally, due to increasing levels of engagement in the political sphere, millennials are trying to add their voices to the political agenda.
Abortion rights and LGBT activist Sarah Audelo shares her reasons for why millennial are starting to become so invested in the cause: the movement has gained much political clout and power as more and more young people come out to their friends and families. Increasingly, Audelo says that the LGBT movement has a personal element to it, be it friend or family member. That being said, thinking that your friend or family member does not deserve the same rights as you do due to their sexual orientation would be greatly upsetting to us. We arrive at this position, according to Audelo, not from politics but through our “experience[s] with the people around [us] and … empathy, equality, and social justice.”
While there has been criticism of the way the movement has been dealt with, especially with heterosexual allies, the LGBT movement itself is evolving by incorporating LGBT youth as leaders and important voices in the community’s struggle for equality going forward. It is not afraid to engage with the people who are being affected by the struggle, creating and recognizing the young leaders among the community.
Resources for straight allies and members of the LGBT community are plentiful, coming in different forms of media, including PDF files and activist websites, also displaying the impact that modern technology has in disseminating such important information. Technology has also had a key impact in the battle against inequality, facilitating better communication and connection with people all around the world. A great example of that is conversations that take place through forums such as HuffPost Live, where queer millennial discuss issues beyond gay marriage, such as personal expression and shattering traditional gender roles.
Hopefully, LGBT and heterosexual supporters of LGBT rights can make their points clearly in the political sphere. Through active engagement with state and federal legislatures, millennials can consolidate as a group to make real change in the lives of LGBT people overall.