Friday, July 24, 2015

Study: Bias Against LGBT Individuals Decreasing Across All Demographic Groups

A new study out of the University of Virginia provides more bad news for Christofascists and their puppets within the GOP: anti-LGBT bias is falling across all demographic groups. Huge problems of anti-gay discrimination continue to exist but despite their efforts to fan anti-gay animus, the Christofascists are losing the larger was for equality and becoming more and more of marginalized demographic. In my view, the changes stem not only from the vastly increased visibility of gays, but also the larger decline in religion.  A decline I believe is driven by the reality that science is making it increasingly difficult to prop up the myths on which Christianity is based.  With educated people understanding that among other things (i) Adam and Eve never existed and (ii) the Bible is a much manipulated and revised work of fallible men, bias based on Bronze Age myths become increasingly unsustainable.  Here are highlights of the study findings:
The U.S. Supreme Court's recent ruling legalizing marriage between same-sex couples in all 50 states follows on the heels of national polls showing rapid cultural changes in attitudes toward lesbian and gay people. A new University of Virginia study confirms this, showing that not only are Americans' conscious and unconscious biases against lesbian women and gay men decreasing across all demographic groups, but the trend also appears to be accelerating. 

Westgate and co-authors Rachel Riskind of Guilford College and U.Va. psychology professor Brian Nosek analyzed data collected from more than half a million people between 2006 through 2013 by Project Implicit.

Westgate's team found that implicit or "unconscious" bias against lesbian and gay people was 13 percent lower in 2013 than in 2006, suggesting that implicit bias has decreased substantially in recent years. They also found that explicit, or self-reported, bias decreased twice as much (26 percent) as implicit bias over the same seven-year period. This suggests that while many peoples' attitudes are changing at the deeper, unconscious level, some people may be less willing or able to acknowledge anti-gay bias than they were in years past. 

"Implicit biases can occur outside of conscious awareness or conscious control," Nosek said. "People may know that they have them and not be able to control them. This is the first evidence for long-term change in people's implicit attitudes on a cultural level." 

The authors also found that some people's attitudes were changing more quickly than others. Age, race and political orientation were the biggest predictors of attitude change. Unconscious bias decreased the most among women, as well as among white, Hispanic, liberal and younger people. Men - as well as black, Asian, conservative and older people - showed the smallest changes in bias. 

Most importantly, nearly all demographic groups showed decreases in unconscious and self-reported bias over the seven-year period, suggesting that across the board, people seem to be developing more positive attitudes toward lesbian and gay people in general.

"People today are genuinely more positive toward gay and lesbian people than they were just a decade ago," Westgate said. "The research shows that attitudes across the board are truly changing - it's not just a function of people feeling less comfortable admitting their bias in a culture that has become more open." 

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