In honour of last week’s Coming Out Day, Facebook has revealed that more people than ever came out as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender on its site.
The company defines “coming out” as updating one’s profile to express a same-gender attraction, being in a same-sex relationship or specifying a custom gender.
Over the past year, “approximately 800,000 Americans updated their profile to express a same-gender attraction or custom gender,” said the social media company in a blog post.
Not only has the total number of Americans who’ve come out on Facebook risen dramatically, but so has the number coming out each day; growing to almost three times what it was a year ago.
The company noted that sharp spikes in coming out were linked to specific events, such as Coming Out Day (October 11) and the US Supreme Court’s ruling to legalise same-sex marriage in June.
Facebook said that the number of people, in total, who came out on the site on the day of the court’s ruling was about two and half times higher than it was on October 11 of the previous year.
Currently, more than six million Americans have come out in total on Facebook.
“Since we only consider those who have expressed a same-gender attraction or list a custom gender on their Facebook profiles, it is likely that this figure is an underestimate of the total number of ‘out’ Americans,” said the company.
It also pointed out that of those who are out on Facebook, approximately 78% made this change to their profile since the beginning of 2012.
“While this figure may be somewhat conflated by growth in the number of people on Facebook, the sheer magnitude of this increase suggests that the LGBT movement has made significant strides in recent years,” Facebook added.
The company also revealed that the total number of fans of LGBT-focused pages (such as those for LGBT rights groups) has increased close to 25% over the past year, with a noticeable leap around the Supreme Court decision.
Approximately 5.7 million Americans are fans of at least one of the 300 most popular LGBT pages on Facebook.