There’s been a significant increase in the number of Americans who identify as LGBT, compared to just five years ago.
A new Gallup survey has found that 10 million adults in the US now see themselves as belonging to the LGBT community.
That’s 4.1% of the population, compared to 3.5% of the population who identified as LGBT in 2012 – a whopping 1.75 million more people.
The statistics are based on interviews with a random sample of more than 1.6 million US adults who were asked, “Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?”
According to Gallup, Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1998) are largely responsible for the increases observed in overall LGBT self-identification. In fact, Millennials are more than twice as likely as any other generation to identify as LGBT. LGBT identification increases were also more pronounced among women, Asians and Hispanics.
Gallup noted that self-identification as LGBT represents only one aspect of measuring sexual orientation and gender identity. It pointed out that many people may engage in same-sex sexual behaviour or feel same-sex attraction but do not identify as being LGBT.
“A variety of factors can affect the willingness of adults to identify as LGBT,” said Gallup. “These can include how comfortable and confident survey respondents feel about the confidentiality and privacy of data collected.”
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin described the increase as “historic” but commented that the survey does “does not take into account the countless LGBTQ Americans who remain closeted – especially in areas of the country where our community lacks protections from discrimination and violence”.
He said that, “the LGBTQ community is at a turning point when it comes to political relevance” and that, “the growing clout of LGBTQ voters and consumers is driving inclusive policies and marketing strategies across corporate America, as well as the business community’s opposition to anti-LGBTQ legislation”.