How Gay Is America?


There’s no question that public attitudes
towards the LGBT community have shifted dramatically in a relatively short amount of time. Just
last year, the number of married same-sex couples in the US has tripled. To see how
this shift has changed LGBT demographics, we asked Dr. Gary Gates of the Williams Institute
to tell us more. What percentage of the U.S. population today
would identify as LGBT based on your data? So the best estimates that we have for the
percentage of the population in the US that identify as LGBT are around 4%. Various surveys
range from roughly of 3 to 5% in most surveys. Well if you look at identity as your measurement,
um, it’s around, most surveys are around four percent. Um, three to five percent, you
do get occasionally some surveys that are higher than that. One interesting thing about
those surveys is among younger people, it’s always substantially higher. So for instance
in…in the Gallup survey, if you’re under age 30, it’s well over six percent identifying
as LGBT, but if you’re over 30, it’s under four percent. So I suspect that in the fairly
near future, uh, those numbers are going to continue to go up.
But if you use these other measures like sexual behavior or…sexual..uh…or your attractions
to..to either…um, people of similar gender to you or different gender to you, um you
get much higher numbers. Um if you ask people if they’ve ever had same sex sexual encounter,
you usually get numbers in the eight to nine percent range. And if you ask if they have
any kind of attractions that are beyond…um…different sex attractions, so any sort of same sex attractions,
you often get numbers, uh well over 10 percent. Wow. I mean that’s a huge difference in
just how you ask the question. and do you think those numbers are gonna change
over time? They have already. Um in survey… we don’t
have a lot of older surveys that asks these kinds of questions. But certainly if we look
at some surveys in the early 90s, um, sexual orientation identity, so identifying at that
point was usually just lesbian, gay or bisexual, it was only in about the two percent range.
So it’s more than doubled in the last ten years. So are there any uh…racial socioeconomic
religious correlation to be found in the identity data? Well yes I think one of the interesting things
there’s a stereotype for instance that around racial, race and ethnicity that uh racial
and ethnic minorities would be kind of less likely to identify as LGBT because uh of more
socially conservative environments in some cases, um more broad social stigma so perhaps
uh an unwillingness to kind of add to my stigmatization by identifying as LGBT. But in fact um the
recent Gallup data which is the largest sample of of LGBT people we have as far as I know
in the world from a population based sampling um most racial and ethnic minorities have
higher proportion identifying as LGBT right now. And it turns out that the reason for
that is is that younger people are much more likely to self identify as LGBT than older
people and racial and ethnic minorities in this country are younger than white people.
And that skew in the age it actually explains quite a bit of the difference in the identity
patterns and so. But overall it’s no longer accurate in the United States to say there
are big differences in identity by race and ethnicity um. we see prevalence to be very
similar uh across racial ethnic categories. Do those same kind of attitudes play out over
the same sex marriage argument as well or the same sex marriage discussion rather? Well certainly yes, well they attract again
communities that are more supportive of lcof marriage equality tend to have higher percentages
of LGBT pop you know people identifying as LGBT. So if you look at states, you know if
you look at uh percent LGBT among states um the northeast and the West tend to have higher
proportions and i think that, it’s not surprising that those places are also then places that
have more supportive laws like marriage equality. Um and I think those two things go hand in
hand.you in order to pass supportive laws uh around LGBT, you have to have a fairly
visible already a fairly visible active LGBT community uh to promote the law. Right. And you mentioned states in the west,
in the north…in the northwest, what..(pause) what states have the largest collections of
people who identify as LGBT, and why would..why…why would that be?
Well and again there few questions largest number or largest percentage
Right- And largest number are basically just states
with a lot of people Right-
So you know California, Texas, New York. those states tend to have the largest number and
the same thing when we look at cities. but if we look at percentages again places with
the highest percentages tend to be the states you would expect so uh new england states,
and the west coast, California, Oregon, Washington um. in general those are the places that have
the highest proportions of LGBT people and if you look at at for instance Gallup recently
did some analysis of metropolitan areas and that not surprising San Francisco was ranked
highly. But I think one of the interesting things
to note from that was that Salt Lake City Yea-
Made the top ten of metro areas and and and that goes back to a comment I made earlier
about this relationship between laws and supportive laws and LGBT visibility.
It I suspected that LGBT visibility was changing even in conservative places like Utah and
certainly in Salt Lake City and and you see that they are the first state in, I think it’s seven years to pass a broad
based anti-discrimination law that included sexual orientation and gender identity and
i think those two statistics aren’t are highly related. um I think that the reason
that happened was that visibility in places like Salt Lake City got large enough that
they could really make the case for those laws and as I said it showed up in the Gallup
figures. Do you think that’s — uh kind of a chicken
and egg situation where, is it the population is there and therefore it
Right fosters the law, or is it that the law can
then foster It’s Silence.
or an opening for that law fosters an increase in population
It’s absolutely both that um Some underlying social acceptance that allows LGBT people
to be more visible certainly helps in the beginnings of getting better laws um. But
once laws are passed and certainly um we have evidence at the Williams institute we’ve
done some studies showing that after marriage equality is passed in a state, even if it’s
done through uh a judicial uh you know a court ruling that support for marriage for same
sex couples goes up in the state and that probably that increases the visibility of
same sex couples in the state um and you know probably LGBT people generally as well. so
the two factors to go hand in hand and you’re exactly right its definitely a chicken and
egg situation. With most of the country having already legalized
same-sex marriage, the upcoming Supreme Court ruling seems like a foregone conclusion. But
how that will change the face of the LGBT population, and how global perceptions will
shift even further, is yet to be seen. A huge thanks to Gary Gates at UCLA’S Williams
Institute for joining us on TestTube News today. If you’d like to learn about more
awesome research coming out of UCLA, check out this video about how our DNA may have
a big effect on our relationships. Thanks for watching! Don’t forget to subscribe.

Michael Martin

100 Responses

  1. Homosexuals will not Go to heaven. Jesus Christ said no homosexuals will Go to heaven ok that's the truth know repent everyone turn to Christ he is God repent people………

  2. .The Ultimate Goal for woman and man is Heaven weather we like it or not the Holly Bible is true and drunkerdness.homosexuality and lovers of pleasure idolaters those who practice magic arts.and every one that practices falsehood shal not inherit Gods Gifts after death.ON THE LAST DAY EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW AND CONFESS THAT JESUS CRIST IS LORD

  3. I mean this is people that identify as LGBT but honestly most people probably aren't straight if you think about it

  4. If anyone here has played life is strange, notice that there are four lgbt characters in the series and Oregon is tied as the most lgbt state

  5. It's interesting how they mentioned in the video that the older someone gets the smaller the numbers are as to who identifies as LGBT and I believe that has to do with the fact that young people are supposed to be allowed to experiment to find out who they are and it's probably not a good idea to label themselves until they reach a certain age so that they can identify themselves properly. I don't think that a child should label themselves until they experience more growth. Younger people need to experiment so that they can discover who they are.

  6. キリスト教は同性愛を認めていないのだろう?何かしらのグループが、悪事をしているんだな。

  7. The Bible is Against the people so they wrote about it
    So they Built the church so they got us in there so they got us to read the Bible to Brain wash us it true.

  8. you also have to take into account the people that aren’t out about their sexuality. there are tons of people that i know that have only dated girls and have told me they have an attraction to guys.

  9. Bigots: “4% is such a tiny number of people making a fuss about nothing. Wanting special rights!”
    Logic: That’s 12.8 Million US Citizens geniuses. Over 280 Million people worldwide. I’d say their rights are a significant issue.

  10. Homosexuality is like the alternative for heterosexuality if you understand where I'm coming from. It is natural not unnatural since calling homosexuality unnatural would be a oxymoron in itself. I wish some people would be more tolerant and some stop pushing their views on others.

  11. If America is that tolerant than why it’s bullying the oil countries in the meddle east
    Why USA targeting the Iranian people with its sanctions?

  12. The reason why those numbers are low look so low is for people fear to be labeled. They know once that happens you become that label, and that change many of the social rules. People experiment, and there is nothing wrong with that. One day hopefully, that stigma is going to be away and people can just love whoever they want, no labels necessary.

  13. Its seems to me on netflix there are more representation. I would suggest more like 40% lgbt

  14. Some philosopher think that population pressure would tend to increase the number of lgbt. They see its a sort of enlightment.

  15. Honestly I think time will show LGBT percentages are even higher; a lot of people who deep down are LGBT don't act on it, or at least hide it for fear.

    Sometimes is spooky to think how many men and women are are in straight relationships or even married hiding their true nature.

  16. the Question now being how many will vote in the 2020 United states election for President of the United States

  17. It can get up to 30% then it will go down.
    Theres many studies that say that 30% of a population is the biggest number of weakness possible.

    70% strong sane
    30% weak sick

  18. WRONG People are turning to YAHWEH for Truth for living, your master satan is finished, 1 man 1 woman to have Marriage In HIS Eyes you are Unnatural

  19. One reason why fewer older people identify as LGBT could be the large number of men who died of AIDS in the 1980's and 1990's.

  20. USA people overestimate the actual percentage. Most think 25%, because we see it on just about every television show out there. Duh!

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