A recent Gallup poll revealed that LGBTQ identification in the United States has reached a new high: 7.1 percent of U.S. adults identify as something other than heterosexual, a percentage that’s doubled since 2012, largely in part due to the youngest generation being queer AF.
The findings come from aggregated 2021 data that included interviews with more than 12,000 U.S. adults who were asked whether they self-identify as straight or heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Nearly 21 percent of Generation Z Americans who have reached adulthood — those who wore born between the years 1997 and 2003 — identify as LGBTQ, per the study, which is double the percentage of millennials who do. The rate of baby boomers (2.6%) and Generation Xers (4.2%) who identify as LGBTQ, on the other hand, have remained steady since Gallup began measuring LGBTQ identification in 2012, while millennials have maintained a subtle uptick from 5.8 percent to 10.5 percent over the past 10 years.
The percentage of Gen Zers identifying somewhere under the queer umbrella, as the report notes, will likely only continue to rise as more members of the generation start to reach adulthood.
“The sharp increase in LGBT identification among this generation since 2017 indicates that the younger Gen Z members (those who have turned 18 since 2017) are more likely than the older members of the generation to identify as LGBT,” reports Gallup. “Should that trend within Gen Z continue, the proportion of U.S. adults in that generation who say they are LGBT will grow even higher once all members of the generation reach adulthood.”
The recent survey also found that bisexuality is the most common identification among LGBTQ Americans, with more than half (57%) saying they are bisexual. Nearly one in six Gen Z adults identify as bisexual, per the Gallup poll.
While the increase in LGBTQ identification represents a generational shift, that shift comes from changing cultural attitudes towards the LGBTQ community and queer identities. Compared to older generations, members of Gen Z are coming to terms with their sexuality or gender identity in an age where homosexuality is increasingly accepted and more legal protections are in place to protect against discrimination.
“They’ve really grown up in a culture where being LGBT was normal and not something that people had to be embarrassed about or try and hide,” Gallup editor Jeff Jones said of members of Gen Z in an interview with The Washington Post. “Certainly there’s still some discrimination, but it’s nothing like it’s been when the older generations were growing up … it’s both things happening — the behaviors and the attitudes are changing, and it’s also the population changing.”
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