New research from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that the average levels of acceptance for LGBT people and their rights have increased globally since 1981. Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Canada, and Spain are the top five most accepting countries, and all have increased in LGBT acceptance over time.
Using advanced statistical methods and computer modeling, researchers analyzed survey data from 174 different countries to produce the Global Acceptance Index (GAI), a measure of the relative level of social acceptance of LGBT people and rights in each country. Iceland is number one with a GAI of 8.9, with The Netherlands (which was number one up to 2009) trailing at a close 8.6. The United States is number 22, with a GAI of 7.2.
Of the countries studied, 131 (75%) have experienced an increase in acceptance since 1981, 9 countries (16%) experienced no change, and 27 (9%) had a decrease in acceptance.
“Sexual and gender minorities all over the world are heavily impacted by the attitudes and beliefs of those around them,” said study author Andrew R. Flores, Visiting Scholar at the Williams Institute. “More acceptance is related to less bullying and violence, better physical and mental health and less discrimination.”
The current report updates and expands a previous study by the Williams Institute, Polarized Progress: Social Acceptance of LGBT People in 141 Countries, 1981 to 2014.
This report was produced as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Global Development Partnership. The Partnership was founded in 2012 and brings together the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the Arcus Foundation, the Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, the LGBTQ Victory Institute, the Williams Institute, Franklin & Marshall College, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights (RFSL), and other corporate, non-profit, and non-governmental organization resource partners.