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  • Writer's pictureNicole Munsey

The LGBTQIA+ Experience: What's Changed Over Time?

New Pride at Every Age primary consumer research report by Morning Light Strategy brings to life the voices of the LGBTQIA+ population and examines the contrasts between the journeys experienced by Older and Younger members of the community.

Our latest insights explore Younger and Older Adult perspectives on how things have changed for the LGBTQIA+ community over time.

Lesbian couple walking outdoors holding Pride flags

How have things changed vs. 20 years ago?

While there is a prevailing sense of cautious optimism about LGBTQIA+ acceptance and visibility, results also show a nuanced understanding of progress and ongoing challenges, influenced by generational perspectives and historical context.

  • Cautious Optimism: Many LGBTQIA+ people of all ages expressed a sense of progress and increased societal acceptance vs. 20 years ago. Despite optimism, there are significant mentions of ongoing challenges and setbacks.

  • Complexity of Progress: The mixed sentiment reflects the complex nature of progress, acknowledging gains while recognizing persistent challenges and potential regressions.

  • Internal Dynamics: Both age groups recognize internal community dynamics and tensions, suggesting ongoing dialogue and reflection within the LGBTQIA+ community itself.

Age 18-49: Optimism with Reservations

young non-binary person holding Pride flag

Generally, individuals under 50 expressed optimism about societal changes benefitting LGBTQIA+ individuals. They highlighted increased visibility, legal protections, and greater acceptance among younger generations like Gen Z.

There were reservations about recent political trends potentially reversing progress or increasing societal polarization. Some mentioned internal community challenges, such as perceived overreach in advocacy efforts.

"It's definitely more of an open conversation rather than the 'hush hush' way it was seen as when I was younger."
"Technically, there are more legal protections for LGBTQIA+ people in the U.S. compared to 20 years ago. There is a lot more queer representation in media, and it's getting better. But it is a fragile situation, with more and more bills/laws designed to hurt queer and trans peope, especially. We seem to be going backwards socially.

Age 50+: Mixed Views with Historical Context

Older black man in wheelchair with Pride flag

Responses from older individuals were mixed, reflecting a historical perspective on the evolution of LGBTQIA+ acceptance. While acknowledging progress, some expressed caution about recent setbacks and ongoing discrimination.

There's a focus on personal acceptance and visibility improvements over the decades, tempered by concerns about societal backlash and the need for continued advocacy.

"I'm more accepting of who I am, more out and proud about who I am, and will not tolerate anyone disrespecting me simply because of my sexual orientation."
"More accepting and I never thought I'd get to marry the love of my life."

The Journey at Large

In our latest report, Pride at Every Age: Contrasting the LGBTQIA+ Journeys of Younger & Older Adults, we explore the language, identities, perceptions, opinions and insights of the LGBTQIA+ community, including how both Older and Younger Adults describe their personal journey and identity, how they perceive the journey at large over time, and what they hope and expect the future to bring.

The future is old. Are you ready?

Click here to get started.

Research Methodology:  Online survey conducted by Morning Light Strategy on June 20-21, 2024 among a national sample of N = 100 US Adults aged 18+ that identify as LGBTQIA+ (N = 50 Aged 18-49; N =50 Aged 50+). 

About:  Morning Light Strategy is an insights & advisory agency on a mission to help brands and organizations plan and position for the global shift toward an older demographic. We help our clients make the strategic business, marketing and innovation decisions that will accelerate their growth among 50+ consumers and their caregivers.  To learn more, visit:


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