Record number of people identifying as LGBTQ+ in new Gallup poll
Generation Z adults or those aged 18 to 23 are driving the increase in LGBTQ+ representation.
The number of people identifying as LGBTQ+ is climbing in the U.S., according to a new Gallup poll. The latest update suggests an all-time high of 5.6 per cent of U.S. adults — or about 18 million people — now identify as part of this community, representing a 1.6 per cent jump since the 2017 survey. The results are based on 15,000 interviews conducted in 2020 with U.S. adults aged 18 and older.
Between 2012 and 2015, 3.5 per cent to 3.9 per cent of U.S. adults identified as LGBTQ+, Gallup says.
More than half (54.6 per cent) of the LGBTQ+ adults who participated in the survey identified as bisexual, 24.5 per cent identified as gay, 11.7 per cent identified as lesbian, and 11.3 per cent identified as Trans.
Generation Z adults or those aged 18 to 23 are driving the increase in LGBTQ+ representation. The poll finds 1 in 6, or 15.9 per cent, of people in this age group identify as LGBTQ.
Only 2 per cent of respondents born before 1965 identify as such.
“One of the main reasons LGBT identification has been increasing over time is that younger generations are far more likely to consider themselves to be something other than heterosexual,” reads an excerpt from the poll.
“This includes about one in six adult members of Generation Z (those aged 18 to 23 in 2020).”
Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project, tells USA Today that “generational shifts in awareness and acceptance” is transforming public perceptions of what it means to be LGBTQ+.
“I have had conversations with many older LGBTQ people who break down in tears when they share their coming-out stories of decades ago – heart-wrenching stories of family rejection, losing parents, losing siblings, losing jobs,” Mushovic told the publication.
“Older generations grew up during those times when being LGBTQ could land you in jail, or alone or jobless.
“The younger generations haven’t experienced this level of fear where often being in the closet felt less like a choice and more like a survival mechanism.”
Parents play an important role by creating safe spaces for their children to explore and own their identities, she adds.
Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, told CNN the findings suggest there have always been more LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. than surveys reflect and that societal shifts are inspiring more people to publicly disclose.
“We’ve always had LGBTQ people in this country,” he said.
“The question is whether they identify as LGBTQ — meaning the label itself — and whether they’re comfortable publicly identifying.”