October 11th is National Coming Out Day

Polls Show that on the 20th Anniversary of the Lesbian & Gay March on

Washington, Acceptance of Gays and Lesbians Has Increased Dramatically

Oct 10, 2007, 01:00 ET from Human Rights Campaign

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Coming Out Day
 is celebrated each year on October 11th to commemorate the 1987 Lesbian and
 Gay March on Washington and the first unfurling of the AIDS Quilt on the
 National Mall. Comparing public opinion polls on key issues from 1987 to
 today shows a dramatic shift in support for equal job opportunities, open
 military service, and inclusion in hate crimes law for gay, lesbian,
 bisexual and transgender Americans.
     "For twenty years, the GLBT community has been coming out and putting
 an ever-more personal face to issues in our lives, and that is clearly
 changing hearts and minds," said Mark Shields, director of the HRC Coming
 Out Project. "Americans have come to know their GLBT friends and family in
 a new way in the last 20 years, and those relationships have changed the
 cultural landscape."
     --    Visibility: The findings also indicate a sharp increase
           over the past two decades in the number of Americans who say
           they personally know or work with someone who identifies as gay
           or lesbian: 72 percent today, according to Peter D. Hart Research
           Associates, Inc. In 1987, just 11 percent reported to ABC News and
           the Washington Post that they associated with a "male homosexual"
           on a regular basis.
     --    Relationship Recognition: Today, 60 percent of Americans support
           same-sex marriages or civil unions, according to a CBS
           News/New York Times poll. Twenty years ago only 12 percent of
           Americans agreed that "homosexual couples" should have the right
           to marry, according to the National Opinion Research Center.
     --    Military Service: A University of New Hampshire survey showed
           that four out of five (79 percent) Americans believe gays and
           lesbians should be allowed to openly serve their country in the
           military--which is currently prohibited under the military's
           "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. In 1993, NBC and the Wall Street
           Journal found that just 40 percent felt that gays and lesbians
           should serve openly in the military.
     According to a May 2007 Gallup poll, 89 percent of Americans support
 equal employment opportunities for gays and lesbians--a 30 percent increase
 since the early 1980s.
     The transgender community has seen increased support as well. While
 little polling on American attitudes on gender identity was done twenty
 years ago, today 72 percent of Americans agree that "fairness is a basic
 American value and employment decisions should be based solely on
 qualifications and job performance, including for transgender people."
 Eighty-two percent of America's younger voters, aged 18 to 29, support
 equal opportunities for all employees, regardless of sexual orientation and
 gender identity.
     The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual
 and transgender advocacy group, is marking the twentieth anniversary of the
 1987 Lesbian and Gay March on Washington and the first unfurling of the
 AIDS Quilt on the National Mall by sponsoring a video project that asks the
 question, "What inspires you about living honestly and openly?" HRC created
 a video featuring the stories of GLBT individuals--many of whom
 participated in the 1987 March on Washington--and is encouraging others to
 film their own responses. HRC and Bravo's Outzonetv.com have released video
 responses from many stars of Bravo's hit shows, including Project Runway,
 Tim Gunn's Guide to Style, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Top Chef,
 Workout and Flipping Out. To view the videos, please go to
     For more information about National Coming Out Day, please visit
     The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights
 organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
 equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end
 discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves
 fundamental fairness and equality for all.

SOURCE Human Rights Campaign