Gallup’s latest LGBTQ+ identification poll from February shows that today, 5.6% of Americans identify as LGBTQ+ from 4.5% in 2017. Nearly a decade ago, it was just 3.6%. 

Why could that be? 

Fast facts:

  • A majority of LGBTQ+ Americans say they are bisexual (54.6%)
  • 24.5% identify as gay
  • 11.7% of identify as lesbian
  • 11.3% identify as transgender
  • 3.3% identify as not heterosexual but do not fall under identities listed above
  • 1 in 6 adults in Gen Z consider themselves to be LGBTQ+

“Rebasing these percentages to represent their share of the U.S. adult population finds 3.1% of Americans identifying as bisexual, 1.4% as gay, 0.7% as lesbian and 0.6% as transgender,” Gallup’s write-up reads.

And though one in six Gen Z-ers identify as LGBTQ, Gallup identifies that folks even younger have been starting to identify as such as well. 

“With younger generations far more likely than older generations to consider themselves LGBT, that growth should continue,” Gallup says. “The pronounced generational differences raise questions about whether higher LGBT identification in younger than older Americans reflects a true shift in sexual orientation, or if it merely reflects a greater willingness of younger people to identify as LGBT.”

According to a 2019 Trevor Project study, about 10.5% of 13 to 18-year-olds identify as LGBTQ. However,  LGBTQ youth are still frightened to come out because of possible repercussions by family, friends or society at large. 

Though it depends on someone’s situation, a Human Rights Campaign study reveals that about 60% of LGBTQ youth are out to their immediate family, and about 64% are out to classmates (versus 61% out to the entire school), and a staggering 91% are out to their close friends.

Thirty percent of youth responses in the HRC survey say their home is phobic of LGBTQ individuals in some way or another. And 19% say they are scared to come out for fear of their parents’ reactions. 

I’ve heard several scenarios in which some folks are more comfortable telling their family first, or others preferring to come out to their friends before anyone else. 

Like Gallup said, more children are identifying as LGBTQ, and that is most likely to trend upward in coming years. However, I’m hesitant to believe it’s because of a more accepting society as a whole, especially with these recent trans sports ban acts going through state legislatures nationwide. Though on my side of the internet I’ve seen celebrations of those shot down, some are making it into law. 

The one thing I would like to credit for the increase in LGBTQ identification among Millennials, Gen Z and those younger, is the internet. Without this massive resource, LGBTQ folks would be left wondering why they feel the way they do. No explanation, validation or justification may lead to isolation and self-doubt.

Having the internet has opened doors for individuals to have a community not there before in their home life. Finding a place online with people who identify similarly (or who are also questioning) can instill hope, gratefulness and even happiness. 

Only expanding our resources through the internet can help folks find who they truly are, especially in times most necessary. Take a look at our Identities page to learn more about orientations and pronouns alike, their origins, uses and sub-identities.

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