This article was published on March 3rd, 2021
New released reports estimate that around 5.6% of Americans currently identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, a number that is up a sharp 4.5% since similar polling was done on the issue in 2017. Of those surveyed that included themselves under the LGTBQ+ umbrella, 54.6% identified as bisexual, 24.5% as gay, 11.7% as lesbians, 11.3% as transgender, and 3.3% used another term to describe their sexuality (i.e. queer or same-gender loving). Respondents were able to choose from more than one category on the list, with results based on over 15,000 interviews with adults 18 and older in 2020.
Younger Americans are more likely to consider themselves part of the LGBTQ community, with nearly 16% of Generation Z (those 18 to 23 in 2020) classify themselves as something other than heterosexual, which compares to a mere 2% in Americans aged 56 and older. This pronounced generational shift has been broken down by researchers as a reflection of how younger Americans are far more willing to disclose their identity if it aligns with the LGBTQ+ community than older ones.
With the progress that has been made in America within the past 30 years, younger people now grow up and live in environments where being gay, bisexual, or transgender is not as taboo as it used to be and therefore people are more willing to express their sexuality and orientation in surveys. In past decades, such surveys were not possible or were fraught with data misinformation.
Growing Support for LGBTQ+ Community
The polls indicate there is growing support for LGBTQ+ rights, with a majority of Americans (currently at 67%) backing gay marriage. A decade ago, only 53% believed same-sex couples should be legally allowed the right to marry. Research in 2020 went further than most polls, however, asking respondents, and the 25% increase in those identifying as LGBTQ+ since 2017 is in line with current trends.
The purpose of the surveys is to identify those that align themselves with the LGBTQ+ community and acts as an invaluable tool to acquire more data on how people self-identify and the issues around those that live their life as a member. Conversely, 86.7% of Americans identify as heterosexual, with 7.6% not disclosing their sexual orientation. Women were shown to identify 30% more as LGBTQ+ than men, and 70% of women were likely to classify themselves as bisexual.
Gallup polling reported 11.4% of LGBTQ+ adults married to different-sex spouses, compared to only 9.6% with same-sex spouses. In total, 50.5% of those surveyed identified as single and never married. These findings indicate that the LGBTQ+ agenda is steadily becoming more accepted and mainstream, measures that will lead to more acceptance in the future.