A person holds up a sign referencing the Stonewall Inn during a queer liberation march for Black Lives Matter and against police brutality, Sunday, June 28, 2020, in New York, as marchers celebrated the 50th anniversary of the gay rights movement. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Nearly one in six members of Gen Z identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, a massive new survey published Wednesday found.
In interviews with more than 15,000 Americans who are at least 18 years old, Gallup found that, in 2020, there are more people who openly identify as “LGBT” than ever before. Now, 5.6 percent of the U.S. population identify as LGBT, compared to 4.5 percent in Gallup’s 2017 version of its survey.
“At a time when Americans are increasingly supportive of equal rights for gay, lesbian, and transgender people, a growing percentage of Americans identify themselves as LGBT,” Gallup writes alongside its survey. “With younger generations far more likely than older generations to consider themselves LGBT, that growth should continue.”
Nearly 55 percent of the people who identify as LGBT in Gallup’s survey identify as bi, while around a quarter are gay and about 11 percent are lesbian. Trans people make up around 11 percent of the LGBT population, according to Gallup’s survey. About another 3 percent of people describe their sexual orientation with another non-heterosexual label, like queer or same-gender-loving.
Every succeeding generation also has more self-identifying lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people in it. Among baby boomers, who were born between 1946 and 1964, just 2 percent of people identify as LGBT. That number increased slightly, to 3.8 percent, among Gen X, who were born between 1965 and 1980.
But it shot up dramatically among millennials: Just over 9 percent of that group, born between 1981 and 1996, identify as LGBT. In Gen Z, who were born between 1997 and 2002, nearly 16 percent of people identify as LGBT.
Support for LGBTQ rights has exploded during the course of zoomers’ lives, which may explain why more young adults are willing to be open about who they are. Just six years ago, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage; now, more than half of Americans support it.
“The rigid lines around gender and sexuality are just opening up for everybody,” Phillip Hammack, director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Laboratory at the University of California at Santa Cruz, told the Washington Post about Gallup’s findings. “Young people are just doing it.”
“They’re leading this revolution, and they’re forcing scientists to take a closer look.”
More than 75 percent of those LGBT zoomers are bi, compared to about half of LGBT millennials. (Women are also more likely to identify as bi, according to the survey.) That’s a sharp contrast from previous generations, since older people are as likely to identify as bi as they are to identify as gay or lesbian. It also has huge implications for the U.S. population as a whole: Gallup’s findings indicate that 11.5 percent of all Gen Z adults in the U.S. are bisexual.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is automatically comfortable coming out of the closet. Bi adults are far less likely to be out to the important people in their lives when compared to their gay and lesbian peers.
Gallup also took a look at how Americans’ sexual orientations align with their political preferences. Perhaps unsurprisingly, liberals far outstrip other political groups: 13 percent of liberals identify as LGBT, while just 2.3 percent of conservatives and 4.4 percent of independents said the same.