Saturday, January 31, 2015

Saturday January 31, 2015 - Modern Family

I stated in my previous post about the change is public reaction to gender variant people. I stated how I have had no negative reaction when out as a Femboy. In fact I have had many positive interactions. I now look forward in going out and meeting people when it is obvious I have a feminine appearance (clothes, makeup, jewelry and purse). Yet I am using my male voice.

This is so much different than 1990's, when I was out and received numerous negative reaction.

Yesterday I stated in my post that the Internet has to be part of the turnaround. Then I thought about TV.

Modern Family is a top TV comedy that began in the fall of 2009. I am not a regular viewer, but I did notice the main gay couple. As a major TV show (now in syndication), I was wondering its impact on the public's attitude toward us.

My thesis is that Modern Family did have a very positive impact on public perception and opinions about the lgbt community. This has led to public acceptance or at least a laissez faire attitude.

Now I am not a social scientist and my theory maybe flawed, but its interesting.

Below are the Nielsen ratings for Modern Family. These numbers are the average weekly viewership per season.

2009 -   9,390,000
2010 - 11,890,000
2011 - 12,930,000
2012 - 12,310,000
2013 - 11,790,000
2014 - Not in Yet

The show was a major hit. It showed three families within one major family. One of those families is gay and has a child. I have not watched the show much, but I like that the gay couple is a normal couple with the same issues as the others couples. Its a comedy but the characters are realistic and not sideshow clowns.

To judge public opinion, I used polling data about same-sex marriage. I used this data because there is alot of polling data over many years and we can see the trends. I figured that this opinion is probably close to the overall opinions of the public toward the lbgt community.

I found data from 2004 thru 2014 from two respected polling firms, Pew and Gallup


The Pew polling shows that in 2004, only 29% was for same-sex marriage. This low mark was partly due to the Bush-Kerry election in which Bush ran a very tough anti same-sex marriage campaign.

The numbers rose and leveled off in 2005 thru 2009. But once Modern Family aired in late 2009, notice the drastic change in opinion. In three years, at the height of Modern Family viewership (2011), the poll shows an eleven point swing toward same-sex marriage. The next year, same-sex marriage turns positive. That trend is still continuing.

The against percentage was trending downward since 2007. Its the for trend line that began to move upward in 2009, the first year of Modern Family. The for trend line appears to be moving upward at a faster pace and is causing the spread to turn positive faster.


The above Gallup data is showing similar results as PEW. 2004, was a low because of the Presidential Elections. The results are similar to PEW, with 2009 showing a significant movement upward for the For same-sex marriage group. It starts at 40% in 2008 and move upward every year and last year reached 55%. Again the against community has been slowly trending downward since 2007. The Gallup polling numbers show that at the height of Modern Family viewership (2011), The public opinion for same-sex marriage turned positive.


It seems to me from the above data, that Modern Family did have some impact of the public's change in opinion about same-sex marriage which leads to a change in opinion about other LGBT issues. I think that includes gender variant people. I am sure the internet and politics are important variables which have an impact on public opinion.

But showing positive role models on TV is very important. More positive transgender role models from Orange is the New Black to Transparent are going to continue that change in public opinion.

We can help by getting out in public, showing our femininity and having positive interactions with people.

What do you think?


  1. I think that correlation does not equal causation.

  2. I agree, this is possible but this data alone does not prove causality.It was a thought and once I found the data, it does lineup.