As stigma against LGBTQ individuals has decreased in recent years, more and more individuals of all ages are becoming comfortable acknowledging they identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. And that data is showing up in big ways in academic fields. In a new Gallup report, researchers found that an estimated 5.6% of Americans now identify as LGBTQ — up from 4.5% when the same survey was conducted in 2017.
The Gallup poll also showed people between the ages of 18 and 23 were most comfortable with their sexuality. Nearly 16% of those surveyed within that age bracket identified as a member of the LGBTQ community, compared to just 2% of Americans over the age of 56.
To complete the new report, pollsters at Gallup surveyed more than 15,000 people over the age of 18 throughout 2020. “Of those surveyed who identified as LGBTQ, 54.6% identified as bisexual, 24.5% as gay, 11.7% as lesbians, 11.3% as transgender and 3.3% said they used another term to describe their identity,” reported Dan Avery of NBC News. “The total exceeds 100% because respondents were able to choose more than one category.”
“Younger people are growing up in an environment where being gay, lesbian or bisexual is not as taboo as it was in the past,” Gallup editor Jeffrey Jones said in an interview with Avery. “So, they may just feel more comfortable telling an interviewer in a telephone survey how they describe themselves. In the past, people would maybe be more reluctant.”
Surprisingly, people identifying as bisexual formed the largest group among those who reported they weren’t heterosexual. Often underrepresented in media and less heavily focused on by advocacy groups, advocates often feel bisexuals are excluded within the LGBTQ community. Some studies have warned that this can lead to numerous issues including substance abuse and even increased mental health disorders.
More interesting statistics from the Gallup report include:
- “Women are more likely than men to identify as LGBT (6.4% vs. 4.9%, respectively)”
- “Women are more likely to identify as bisexual — 4.3% do, with 1.3% identifying as lesbian and 1.3% as something else. Among men, 2.5% identify as gay, 1.8% as bisexual and 0.6% as something else.”
- “13.0% of political liberals, 4.4% of moderates and 2.3% of conservatives say they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”
- “Differences are somewhat less pronounced by party identification than by ideology, with 8.8% of Democrats, 6.5% of independents and 1.7% of Republicans identifying as LGBT.”
- “There are no meaningful educational differences — 5.6% of college graduates and 5.7% of college nongraduates are LGBT.”
For more on the Gallup poll, click here.