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1 in 6 members of Gen Z identify as LGBT: Poll

An estimated 18 million in America people identified as a member of the LGBTQ + community, according to a Gallup poll.

1 in 6 members of Gen Z identify as LGBT: Poll
Colorful studio portrait of two women - stock photo/Getty Images

The number of Americans identifying as LGBTQ+ has risen over the past few years, according to a poll by Gallup. The survey found that more younger Americans are identifying as LGBTQ+. An estimated 5.6 percent (estimated 18 million) of Americans identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer in 2020. That's a significant rise from 4.5 percent in 2017.  More than 15,000 people, aged 18 or above, were interviewed throughout 2020 for the poll. Of those who identified as LGBTQ+, 54.6 percent identified as bisexual, 24.5 percent as gay, 11.7 percent as lesbians, 11.3 percent as transgender, and 3.3 percent used different labels to describe their identity including queer, and same-gender-loving, according to NBC News. The percentage total exceeds 100 percent because many of those who surveyed chose more than one category. Of those polled, 86.7 percent of Americans said they are heterosexual or straight, while 7.6 percent did not answer the question about their sexual orientation.



 

LGBTQ+ not as taboo as it was before
It was found that one in six adults in Generation Z identified as LGBTQ+, reported The Washington Post. The survey showed that close to 16 percent of Generation Z between the ages of 18 to 23 in 2020, identified as not being heterosexual. Whereas, only 2 percent of Americans over the age of 56, identified as not being heterosexual. There is widespread support for gay rights, at least, in comparison to earlier times, which has enabled more people to come out. There have also been major shifts in recent years including the Supreme Court that legalized same-sex marriage. "It reflects what we are seeing in society and the way society is changing," said Gallup senior editor Jeff Jones. 

Lesbian couple at home snuggling under blanket - stock photo/Getty Images

 

The survey noted that it was unclear if the rise in numbers is a result of sexual orientation and gender identity, or is it because of more young people willing to identify as LGBTQ+. "As we see more Gen Z become adults, we may see that number go up," said senior editor Jones. The editor believes that it the willingness of younger people to identify themselves as LGBTQ+ because it is not as taboo as it was in the past."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." The acceptance of gay marriage has also considerably risen. Only 53 percent of the people believed same-sex couples should be allowed to marry whereas 67 percent backed gay marriage in 2020.



 

 

Phillip Hammack, a psychology professor and director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Laboratory at the University of California at Santa Cruz, believes the internet may have played a key part in helping people come out. With resources on sexuality and gender being easily accessible through the internet, the younger generations are more informed than ever. "The rigid lines around gender and sexuality are just opening up for everybody," Hammack said. "Young people are just doing it. … They’re leading this revolution, and they’re forcing scientists to take a closer look."



 

More LGBT adults are identiying as bisexual
Close to 55 percent of those who identified as LGBT adults identified as bisexual. A quarter of them identified as gay, with 11.7 percent identifying as lesbian and 11.3 percent as transgender. Among Generation Z, 72 percent of those who identified as LGBT adults, identified as bisexual. Among millennials, more than half of LGBT adults identified as bisexual. More women were identifying as LGBT (6.4 percent) as opposed to men(4.9 percent). Jones added that the interpretations of these terms might not paint an accurate picture but given the large sample size, it should "reduce some of that noise" in the data. Jones acknowledged there were varying levels of outness. "People may think of it differently, in the same way they may have different ideas of what a liberal or a moderate or conservative is," he said. "Basically, we try and use terms that are familiar to most people, that are fairly well understood. But we recognize that people may understand the terms differently."

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