Born this way: Half of Americans think you’re gay from birth
Half of Americans believe people are born gay or lesbian, according to a new poll.
The latest research conducted by Gallup shows that 50 percent of US adults think gay and lesbian people are born with their sexuality.
A further 10 percent of people surveyed by Gallup – a research-based consultant company, known for its opinion polls worldwide – said that they believed being gay is a trait that stems both from biological and environmental factors.
The data adds weight to the argument that being gay is natural.
According to Gallup, the results should be viewed in a positive light by the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
“The nature vs. nurture argument about the origins of sexual orientation has been an integral part of the gay rights debate over the years, and it is clear why,” said the firm.
“Americans who believe gays and lesbians are born with their sexual orientation are much more supportive of gay rights than are those who say orientation is due to upbringing and environment.”
But the data also showed that nearly one-third (30 percent) of respondents think being gay is just the result of upbringing and environmental factors.
Some 4 percent of people attributed being gay to “something else,” and another 6 percent said they were “unsure” what caused people to be gay or lesbian.
There has been a swing in support of the theory being gay is innate since Gallup first asked the “nature vs. nurture” question on the causes of sexuality in its opinion polls back in 1977.
In that year, just 13 percent said being gay was a birth trait, with 56 percent saying it was a consequence of environmental factors.
These attitudes did not have a major shift until after 1989, when the gay rights movement was gaining momentum.
Between 1989 and 2001 the support for gay being a natural trait more than doubled from 19 percent to 40 percent.
According to Gallup, this opinion remained relatively unchanged for the next 12 years, before increasing by 10 percent in favour since 2012.
The research also showed that left-leaning and non-religious people – like college graduates, Democrats, and those who don’t go to church – were more likely to support the view that being gay is natural.
In contrast, those least likely to support this nature theory were those who classed themselves as Republicans (36 percent), conservatives (34 percent), and weekly churchgoers (36 percent).
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“Americans have gradually moved toward the belief that being gay or lesbian is not ’caused’ by upbringing and environmental factors, but rather is a trait a person is born with,” said Gallup.
“This could have important implications for public support for gay rights, as those who believe nature has a hand in sexual orientation are much more likely to be sympathetic to affording gays equal rights in marriage.”
Gallup collected its latest data as part of the company’s annual Values and Morals poll from May 1-10, and surveyed 1,024 adults.
The same poll also revealed that more than two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans support same-sex marriage.
The results mark the highest level of support the firm has ever recorded in more than 20 years of asking Americans about their views on gay marriage.
Earlier this month, Pope Francis told a gay man subject to clerical sexual abuse that God made him gay.