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US research says 8% of men and 7% of women are gay or bisexual

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  1. Much more believable figures there, I think.

  2. How many more frigging time? “Gay”, “lesbian”, “bisexual” are meaningless labels used to conveniently pigeon hole people and conveniently confine them to stereotypes in the eyes of those who do not conform to the manufactured, conformist, so-called “gay lifestyle”. Human beings are sexual beings who, under various circumstances, will sleep with men or women regardless of their own gender. “Sodomy”, as Churchill described, was rampant in the navy as indeed it is in most male contained environments, with many of the participants returning to married life when back on shore. Just as women-on-women sex is prevalent in all-women prisons; boy-on-boy sex is in public schools, etc. etc. So what neat little boxes do you file these people in? Human beings will, when the circumstance arises, obtain sex where and when it is most easily available (vis a vis the farmhand whose only live contact is with animals, who he will/may end up, er, pleasuring). No, the purpose of the highly sexualised commercial gay ghetto is to enable men who are “gay identified” but not not strictly “gay” per se can easily find others to get off. Gay is a label, a myth, that defines a lifestyle but not a person’s true sexual potential in the vast spectrum of human sexuality, and this myth prevails because there are a lot of people who are making an awful lot of money on the back of it. Personally I way prefer guys over gals sexually but I am a sexual being. I do not identify with what the word gay has come to denote. To me it defines a world of narrow ghettos festooned with bars full of lost, drunken souls, dance clubs full of caricatures of men trying too hard to be “macho men” and cheap, tatty stores stuffed to the brim with double-ended dildos, poppers and porn DVDs. If that is what gay culture is about then that world most certainly does not define who I am, thank you very much, and I suspect alienates many other normal-looking guys (i.e. non-caricatured) and keeps them under the gaydar and out of reach of surveys that futilely seek to discover how many gays/bis/etc. exist. No wonder there is so much disparity between such surveys recently done in the UK and US, because these surveys are trying to find the answer to something that doesn’t strictly exist! And to anyone who doth protest that I am a self-hating homophobe in denial, all I will say to that is get over it and get a life outside of the Soho/Canal Street bubble.

  3. @ William, YAWN.

  4. Wow William you are quite angry aren’t you? I also find some of the ‘gay world’ and its prescriptive behaviour and norms a bit tedious amd constraining. But just how is that any different from the wider norms and behaviours of the rest of society?
    I also like the idea of the wide spectrum of sexuality but it just doesn’t fit my experience. I am sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the same gender. I’m sorry but I just am, okay? And I don’t do any of the gay bars, poppers, porn, etc that you mention. Gay doesn’t only apply to the narrow list you give. I’m quite happy for it to embrace all of that and include me. None of us have to fit in a round hole, if we are square.
    William – perhaps you should just try to be happy eh?

  5. PAUL Cann 4 Oct 2010, 9:13pm

    william, you got any other advice from that fountain of anti-gay wisdom? (just for a laugh that is)

  6. I don’t believe it, I think it’s a really low estimate. People are simply unwilling to admit their true feelings as there is still too much prejudice and personal fear in being honest on this issue because of the prejudice.

  7. These figures seem more accurate than the recent uk survey and I’m not just saying that because I won’t it to be so. Sexuality seems to be a fluid thing for many people (if you will pardon the expression) and it probably doesn’t include people who have frequent same sex fantasies. Frankly the results of the uk survey seem absurd.

  8. Why are gay stores equated with poppers, porn and lube and mainstream ones equated with Selfridges, Waitrose and Halfords? Sure, they have their Ann Summers stores, but gay stores are defined 100 percent by products of a degrading nature (Gays the Word excepted). Why does that make me self-hating and a gay denialist when I am merely pointing out the truth? Why are near enough all mags aimed at gay men replete with sex, Kylie tack and escort ads? Where is the culture that “gay society” can actually be loud and proud about? After marriage rights are won, what next? The right to have sex with kids as young as 14? That is what Peter Tatchell has down next on his must-do list. The word gay today is synonymous with loud and proud militants who refuse to accept that people’s sexuality should not be confined to narrow boxes because they are terrified of losing their visibility. Well I would sooner be invisible as a sexual being than be associated with the hyper-sexualised and often downright offensive imagery that the word gay these days is projecting to the mainstream, as indeed do most “men who sleep with men” (i.e. non-gays). Don;t believe me? Then leave a copy of QX on a train seat and observe the facial expressions of the poor sod who picks it up and flicks through its empty, shallow, cock-filled pages. Their is only one sexuality; human sexuality, and you should feel free to express it any which way so long as it does not impose itself or endanger others. I am sure if the militants got off their soap boxes and stopped banging their drums at the slightest suggestion that their numbers are nearer 1 per cent than 10 per cent then they would attract the rabid attention of animals like 50 cents.

  9. Sorry, last sentence should read: “then they would NOT be attracting then rabid attention of animals like 50 Cent.”

  10. PS. I hope the survey results are published in the UK’s mainstream media in the same way that the UK survey results were.

  11. These surveys are pointless the uk one was too low and this one they only asked 6,000 people and then only counted those that identify as lgb and were honest.

    It’s a pointless thing unless you do an annonymous sealed national survey. Even then there’s margin for error

  12. @Bob:

    “I also like the idea of the wide spectrum of sexuality but it just doesn’t fit my experience. I am sexually and emotionally attracted to people of the same gender. I’m sorry but I just am, okay?”

    Bob, there is nothing to apologise about, but I think what William is saying is that men like you and I who are 100% attracted to men form 1% of the population, and that suggstion irks you.

    If human sexuality really is an equally spread spectrun with homo at one end and hetero at the other, then it makes sense that truly “gay” men at one spectrun form 1% of this spread and truly hetero men/woman at the other end form 1%, while 98% form the gray area in the middle that is not exclusively strictly gay or straight defined.

    Correct me if I am wrong in this theory, but didn’t Peter Tatchell himself on this very site draw the same conclusions as William has eloquently done, and not to very long ago? Didn;t Freud also draw similar conclusions several decades ago?

    Why do we get our knickers knotted whether we are described as 1% or 8% of the population? Regardless, we are human beings deserving of respect and equal rights, but really we do ourselves no favours sometimes in our vociferous and often venomously intolerant counter-attacks against our perceived persecution, including against our own who make logical and rational statements.

    We really need to discard that collective chip that is weighing us down and harness that hate energy into more constructive pursuits that wins us gays some respect. Just chill, guys!

  13. PumpkinPie 5 Oct 2010, 2:41am

    Awesome. Now the comment threads get invaded by weird cultists. Never a dull day around here.

    Still can’t believe that British survey was conducted with direct contact. Who thought that would be a good idea?

    To be honest, I’d think even 8% is a low figure. Given that society is immensely biased towards monosexuality and against homosexuality, I reckon there’s a very sizeable amount of bisexuals who never even thought to question their sexuality and live out their days happily pursuing purely opposite sex relationships. It took me until I was 20 to start questioning my sexuality and I’ve always been very open and positive about these things. I can’t fathom how unlikely it is for less “enlightened” bisexuals to recognise their true feelings.

    I don’t believe the whole “humans are all varying degrees of bisexual” idea. I definitely think there are more heterosexuals than bisexuals, I just think that there are far, far more bisexuals out there who don’t even realise they’re bi. And I mean to a much greater extent than people who don’t think they’re gay. Realisation comes a lot harder to bis than it does to gay people.

  14. Jock S. Trap 5 Oct 2010, 6:41am

    This figure is low as there are still many people who would probably not say so for a survey.

    Here’s betting the Christian Institute probably won’t be reporting this more likely figure in case the church elders wet themselves with a mixture of fear and anger.

    William, love, why so bitter? … think some kind of anger management might help esp if it helps clear up you very narrow vision of what being gay actually means.

  15. “William, love, why so bitter? … think some kind of anger management might help esp if it helps clear up you very narrow vision of what being gay actually means.”

    Anger management…. and some psychiatric help on self esteem. Anyone that thinks being “gay” is basically a collection of seedy bars and a few sex shops needs serious help and to ditch his current friends – its the equivalent to thinking being straight means you have to go to a brothel.

  16. William – you sound as bad as the homophobes when you refer to ” The right to have sex with kids as young as 14?”

  17. Maybe I’m missing something, but I thought Waitrose and Selfridges were gay stores :-)

  18. Seriously William.

    No-one forces you to socialise in Soho. No-one forces you to watch porn or do any of the stereotypically ‘gay’ things you rant about in your previous post.

    I am curious to understand the source of your anger.

    You are free to live your life as you see fit.

    Don’t be a victim of peer pressure.

  19. Marcus, William is some kind of inflammatory troll… on another thread “Gay vicar forced to postpone civil partnership”, one of his comments was just a blatant racist attack. There’s something wrong with William, and it’s not just self esteem issues….

  20. These figures are far more realistic imo than the 1.5% given by the National Office of Statistics.

  21. William, you are so right. Yes, we should all feel free to express it any which way so long as it does not impose itself or endanger others. So let’s close down the ‘gay stores’, and then maybe Waitrose, Selfridges and Halfords will start selling our poppers, porn, lube and double ended dildos!

    If people want these things, then they should be free to purchase them. If you don’t, then just don’t. No-one is forcing you to go into these stores, or clubs.

    I do love the way you compare ‘gay stores’ (i.e.Clone Zone) with ‘mainstream stores’ (i.e. Selfridges). Hilarious!! You ever been into a straight sex-shop. Porn and double ended dildos! Gay or straight, sexually active people want these things. Leave them be.

    You seem very familiar with the content of the gay world. Had a few too many rejections have we?

    Bitter get on with your own life!

  22. Jock S. Trap 5 Oct 2010, 2:59pm

    Anyone else smell a Rat… Oops sorry meant a Rob?

  23. Statistics can say anything you want them too, they’re all rather misleading. You may as well draw an estimation from thin air.

    Will, people are people. I am sure they identify with being all sorts of ists, isms and what not. Personally, I’ve always identified as being purely gay. Never had an interest in women at all but I appreciate that sexuality is indeed very flexible. My partner was actually married for a fair amount of years to a woman and was for all purposes bisexual until a few years ago.

    I also agree with the point that gay society concentrates so much more on the superficial and how much sex one can get. However, it’s no different from conventional straight society and I’m sure Waitrose sells lubricant.

  24. Hi

  25. @ william “Then leave a copy of QX on a train seat and observe the facial expressions of the poor sod who picks it up and flicks through it”

    I picked up a copy of playboy on a train, I opened it and it made me puke. All those vaginas, I felt like stewie from family guy. Vagina Dentata.

  26. @william – Waitrose, Selfridges, Halfords etc etc are not “straight”. 99% of products sold in 99% of shops are applicable to gay and straight alike – sex is the one major difference, so of course that’s what gay-specific shops are mostly going to focus on. There’s no need for a gay supermarket or a gay department store.

    Same goes for magazines. Sexuality is irrelevant to the vast majority of subjects they cover. Cock-obsessed gay male magazines are mostly just substitutes for the tit-obsessed straight male magazines like Nuts or FHM or whatever.

  27. Why don’t they just put the question on the next census and be done with it ? At least then we’d probably have a far more accurate idea of how people see themselves.

  28. marjangles 5 Oct 2010, 6:04pm

    Jen, the reason they won’t put it on the census is because they don’t think that they’ll get anything like the truth. But whereas the ONS survey is simply just a survey, the census actually has meaning, to a certain extent it dictates government policy and certainly government spending plans. I’d like to know out of curiosity how many of us there are but at the end of the day it’s not that important. The fact is that we are here and we are just as deserving of fair and equal treatment as anyone else. The numbers game is just that, a game.

  29. Anyone seen this item on the BBC news website today which pretty much concludes that the ONS is more accurate than many on here would suggest, and that the 1% gay theory espoused by William has more than a ring of truth to it;

  30. marjangles 5 Oct 2010, 7:39pm

    Sanjay, the story you linked to didn’t conclude anything. Basically, the ONS defended themsevles without actually addressing any of the issues that came up. I participated in this survey but I was most definitely not informed of the types of questions that would come up in advance and I very nearly told the woman where to go when she asked me that question.

    And the person from outside the ONS who they talk to says that the reason the figure is so low is quite possibly
    because they didn’t ask all of the pertinent questions.

  31. A story on today’s BBC news web site titled IN THE CLOSET OR NOT goes into some detail on how the ONS findings were actually collated, and would seem to support its findings that nearer 1% of the population is gay is indeed the accurate figure:

    (BEGINS) A new figure about the number of gay people in the UK has been greeted with scepticism by some who say it doesn’t add up, so what is the problem?

    Are you gay? Very probably not, if a recent figure from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) is to be believed. It says gay, lesbian and bisexual people make up just 1.5% of the British population.

    Such a small percentage made it a big story, with the figure making headlines in many national newspapers. Some were surprised and questioned it. Gay groups in particular greeted it with scepticism.

    The figure, say critics, is far too low. After all, when civil partnerships were introduced the government said homosexuals made up between 5% and 7% of the UK population.

    Another much-used statistic – this one attributed to Alfred Kinsey, the father of sexual behaviour analysis – puts the figure at 10%.

    So why the discrepancy? Some critics point a finger at the methodology used by the ONS. In several newspapers it was reported that the survey had been conducted on the doorstep, with the ONS turning up without prior notice. Critics argue people are reluctant to talk about their sexuality with a stranger on the doorstep.

    But the ONS says this wasn’t the case. The 450,000 people involved were chosen through random sampling and were then sent a letter asking if they wanted to take part. If they did a date was set for someone to visit or interview them over the phone.

    Each member of the household was interviewed separately using question cards and asked a series of questions on a whole range of issues. The ONS had informed them about the nature of the questions beforehand. Not everyone was asked about sexual preference, says the ONS. Some participants were too young, for example. In total 247,623 people were asked and 238,206 gave a valid response.

    The question about sexual perception and the way it was asked was, of course, very important. The ONS worked for three years in an effort to get it right. It asked: “Which of the options on this card best describes how you think of yourself?” The options were heterosexual, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and other.

    The way people were able to respond was also important and explained to all participants in advance. Each person was asked the same question, but shown a different question card with a unique number next to each preference. It meant anyone trying to overhear the answer could not tell which category the respondent had selected.

    The ONS says this method reduced the number of refusals and “don’t knows”. The results show nearly 20% of those who say they are gay, lesbian or bisexual are married and currently living with someone of the opposite sex.

    “We’re quite confident that the estimate we have is an accurate estimate of self-perceived sexual identity,” says Stephen Hicks from ONS.

    So why was last government estimate put at 5% to 7%? The ONS says one reason for the difference is that the latest figure is for sexual perception, not behaviour – two different things.

    “Someone may engage in sexual behaviour with someone of the same sex but still not perceive themselves as gay,” says a ONS spokeswoman.

    It’s also hard to judge the reliability of the previous figure, says Mr Hicks. This is because they are based on a number of studies that asked different questions, used different methods and different samples in different countries. It’s a weakness the original report acknowledged.

    The other widely-quoted study came from the infamous Professor Alfred Kinsey. The 10% figure is derived from his two seminal works: Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male and Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female.

    He interviewed several thousand men and women in the United States between 1938 and 1952 and found that 13% of the men and 7% of the women were “almost exclusively” homosexual.

    But Kinsey’s methods have also been questioned. Professor Julia Ericksen from Temple University in the US has studied his work.

    “He didn’t believe in survey sampling and he was quite antagonistic towards it,” she says.

    Instead he collected samples in order to record as much variety in sexual behaviour as possible. His interviewees were mainly married college students and members of social clubs.

    When he felt he needed to meet more working class people he went looking for them in prisons, believing, says Professor Ericksen, that “most working class people spent some time in prison.”

    He also used to hang around outside public toilets at Penn Station in New York, a place where gay men were known to meet. He would intercept men who remained in the toilet for an unusually long time and persuade them to be interviewed.

    Professor Ericksen says his sample technique cannot be used to give an indication of the behaviour of the population as a whole.

    So does this mean the ONS figure is a better estimate of the lesbian, gay and bisexual population than previous attempts? Possibly. If you compare the ONS work with studies that asked similar questions, its findings are not unusual, says Professor Ericksen.

    But, the question itself might be too narrow, she also argues. The ONS asked about sexual identity. Researchers say there are two other elements to sexual orientation: sexual behaviour and sexual attraction.

    Professor Ericksen says studies in the US have shown that when you ask about all three in the same survey, sexual identity gets the lowest response. For example, there are men who have had, or have desired, sex with other men, who do not consider themselves to be gay, she says.

    “If you really want to get a good grasp at same gender behaviour, you really have to ask all those questions and they didn’t do that,” she says. “It’s not surprising that they got a low figure.”

    Below is a selection of your comments

    Being a gay woman, I know several others that would deny being gay if asked by someone outside the gay community. So many people don’t think it is anyone else’s business or live in fear of being outed. However, this attitude helps to perpetuate the myths and stigma and could prevent government taking us and gay issues seriously. It’s a Catch 22 situation. Fear stops people being open, but until we can be open society will continue to discriminate and stigmatise.

    Sam, Bradford

    In addition to issues of confidentiality and comfort with a stranger (and the problem of implied judgement that is a well-known issue with all face-to-face survey methods, and may lead to false reporting), there are two further serious flaws with the ONS approach that this article fails to notice: first, their question used a single set of favoured terms for sexual orientation imposed by the designers, rather than allowing respondents to describe themselves in the terms with which they personally identify; and second, the question implied by its design that sexuality can be pigeonholed into neat unitary categories, failing to take account of the possibility that an individual’s range of sexual attractions and behaviours might vary along a scale from exclusively different-sex to exclusively same-sex.

    Terrence Lockyer, Johannesburg, ZA

    Asking, “Are you gay?’ is a bit like asking, ‘Are you fat?’ Everybody has their own interpretation. I know plenty men who sleep with men regularly but would never identify themselves as being gay.

    Mike, Newcastle, UK

    Does it really matter what the proportions are?

    Mike Black, Manchester

    Sexuality is a continuum. Few people are purely “strait” few people are purely “homosexual” and everyone else is bell curve sexuality. People of the world, relax.

    Heideko, Osaka, Japan

    This society is obsessed with classifying people. A person is a person and that’s the only thing that matters. I don’t see the point in this kind of survey that only wastes public money which should be used in more important things.

    Sue, Cornwall

    The gay community in particular, and liberal organisations in general, do not like the ONS survey results – so not surprising they are tryng to rubbish them.

    Jeremy Davies, Solihull, UK

    Also the fact that 2.2 million Brits, 6.7% of the population, are members of just one gay dating website…

    Nick, Glasgow, Scotland (ENDS)

  32. Oh yes, the link for the above story –

  33. Thanks for posting this vindication, Sam. ‘Nuff said!

  34. “Thanks for posting this vindication, Sam. ‘Nuff said!”

    Sam vindicated nothing for you William. He posted a story, albeit an interesting one, but it relates in no way to the tripe you spouted earlier in this thread, which demonstrated all the intellectual prowess of a can of sardines. The only ’nuff said’ should be directed at the nonsense you embarrassed yourself in public with. in comment #2….

  35. A long time ago, way back in the early ’70s, studies in the Netherlands, based on surveys in the western world, USA, UK and western Europe, showed figures of about one gay (“has same-sex sex more than once in his sexually active life”) out of every 8 (or even 6?, look, it was 40 years ago!) to 10 citizens. So even the US figures seem rather modest. Was it than a leftover of the sex-liberated ’60s, were people more honest in the good old time?
    However, I think we can align the UK figures with those of the USSR in that same period: Gays? Njet, we don’t have that in the workers paradise!

    BTW, 7 to 8%, that means that in the US there are roughly 7.5% x 300 000 000 = 22 500 000 gays and bis. If only half of them, let’s say 11 000 000, could please come out, wouldn’t that be positive for society, and help ending discrimination, bullying and ohter hate crimes, and help put an end to hate-related suicides?

    Please, consider coming out!

  36. Regardless of anything. Most bisexual men refuse to personally accept their gay side and will identify themselves as heterosexual only most of the time so no matter what, surveys like this are bound to be deceptively low. All this confirms is that “openly gay” population is between 7 and 8%. Many of us are aware that craigs list is full of same sex want a sex date ads where they openly say, “be discreat, I am married”.

  37. Gay is simply a label just like the word straight. I’m gay. So what? It’s a label that describes me. Like white, British, ect. Forget ‘lifestyles’ or whatever. We know that’s all a bunch of crap. Not every straight is married with children just like not every gay man does x, y or z.

    This survey is interesting, but what would be more interesting is what percentage of gay people are not even out.

  38. @sanjay – “Why do we get our knickers knotted whether we are described as 1% or 8% of the population? Regardless, we are human beings deserving of respect and equal rights,”

    That is a very shrewd point. It doesn’t matter how many of us there are insofar as every individual should be respected and valued.

    On the other hand, getting at something like the truth of what rough proportion of the population are some flavour of queer can be really useful in persuading governments to free up resources for particular services, and in helping to mitigate the loneliness and fear that many young (and some older) queer and trans people feel, particularly when coming to terms with who they are.

    I wholeheartedly agree that we shouldn’t seek to justify our existence based on what proportion of the population we are.

  39. @william, you do make some very valid points regarding stereotypes and labelling, but sadly that is where any reason in your comment ends. Porn, sex toys and other sexual enhancement products should never be considered deprave. I am gay and love the Soho scene and have been in a monogamousness relationship with my boyfriend for just over eight years now. We occasionally purchase items to spice up our sex lives, because like any couple there is the danger of it becoming stale. Target markets and merchandising is not a new concept and as a gay man – I am not attracted in anyway to the opposite sex so am more than happy to label myself gay – I am happy that society has moved on so much that products specifically targeting the LGBT individuals/couples can be marketed so openly (x-rated products are usually kept in a back room, (just like in the heterosexual sex shops of which there are many, many more in the UK).

    It seems to me that you are either very prudish or extremely bitter or possibly a combination of both.

    It appears that you do not know much of the gay scene at all. I do not see any ‘Lost souls’, I do see lots of people out with their friends, partners having a good time, some drunk, some tipsy and others plain cold sober, some choose to dance, others choose to sit, chat and enjoy the atmosphere and listen to the music. Some come out hoping to meet someone (casual/relationship not relevant). This is commonly regarded by society as having a good time.

    It is your choice to stay away from places like Soho, but it is not your place to judge those people who actually like to let their hair down after a hard days/weeks work and have some fun.

    @william, it appears that what you are saying is that you would prefer a ‘one size fits all’ society – which flies completely in the face of your ‘no label’ statement in your first post.

    Anyway @william, I wish you the best of luck with your knitting club and am glad that the missionary position and the ‘thinking of England’ method of sexual gratification works for you.

  40. @william, I purchased some excellent vibrating rings (made by Durex and with the condoms) and ‘lube’ from my local ‘Boots’ store, ‘Boots’ as I am sure you are aware is a major British high street store/brand.

    I also suspect that William is not gay at all, but an evangelist homophobic racist who thinks pretending to be gay makes his point all the more valid.

    @william, I think you need some serious psychiatric help.

  41. Anyone else think that @sanjay and @william are the same person?

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