A new report that the Opportunity Agenda released suggests that support for LGBTs among African-Americans and Latinos is on the rise, especially in media serving both communities.
According to the report, "Public Opinion and Discourse on the Intersection of LGBT Issues and Race", a study of attitudes toward LGBTs and studies of Latino and African-American niche media show that pro-LGBT voices far outweigh anti-LGBT voices.
The report, which analyzes four different studies, suggests that historically marginalized communities are pulled between support for LGBT equality and traditional sense of morality and religiosity. Still, experts concluded that media outlets serving Latino and African-American communities are supportive of LGBT people.
"Latino media coverage was overwhelmingly positive when it came to LGBT rights issues," noted Elena Shore, an editor with New America Media.
The report concluded that people who go to church weekly are far less likely to be pro-LGBT, with 24 percent of weekly worshippers to support marriage equality compared with 57 percent of people who rarely or never attend worship services.
Most Americans believe homosexuality is something people are born with, said the report, adding that those who believe so are far more likely to support LGBT rights. Sixty-five percent of Americans who believe people are born gay support marriage equality, according to the report. Among those who think being gay is a choice, just 15 percent support same-sex marriage.
In total, just 36 percent of people believe that being gay is a choice, but the report found that 47 percent of Black Americans believe homosexuality to be a choice. More Latinos believed that people are born gay than the total sample, the report said, with 52 percent of Latinos believing people are born gay, compared with 42 percent overall.
The report found that African-Americans largely do not associate struggles for civil rights with the battle for LGBT rights.
In African-American media, the study found that common LGBT stories centered on HIV, bullying, homophobia and discrimination, with LGBT African Americans and other civil-rights leaders often commenting on stories. Pro-LGBT voices outnumbered anti-gay commentary, which most often came from African-American ministers.
The result, the report concluded, is a tug between condemning discrimination and condemning the perceived immorality of LGBT people.
A similar theme was also found in Latino media, where coverage was mostly supportive of LGBT rights. Latino media tended to cover marriage equality, the end of the military's ban on openly gay soldiers, LGBTs in larger Latino communities, celebrity news and anti-gay violence.
Voices in Latino media were overwhelmingly pro-LGBT, with most supporters being Latino and most anti-gay spokespeople being White.
Kimberly McLeod of the National Black Justice Coalition, which aims to end racism and homophobia, said the findings are useful for activists in educating media outlets on how to tell LGBT stories well.
Darryl Hannah of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation said his organization is pushing for more nuanced conversations around LGBT issues and race, amplifying voices of pro-LGBT faith leaders and celebrating images and stories that look at LGBT people in positive and complicated ways.
Still, the report found that in most cases, the media outlets studied were more likely to report on LGBT-specific issues than to include LGBT people in everyday stories.
The report notes that analysis comes from existing opinion research and that limited data on Asian-Americans, Native Americans and other groups resulted in the study being narrowed to Latinos and African-Americans.