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More Americans identify as LGBT+ than ever before, eye-opening new study reveals

Maggie Baska February 24, 2021
teenagers kissing pride nyc

Two teenage girls, both 17 years-old, kiss during the New York City Gay Pride March on 24 June 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

More Americans than ever identify as LGBT+, with one in six members of Gen Z considering themselves as something other than straight.

An estimated 5.6 per cent of adult Americans identify as LGBT+, according to a new Gallup report. This is a spike in the 4.5 per cent of US adults who identified as anything other than straight in 2017, the last year polling on LGBT+ issues was conducted by the organisation.

Of those who identified as LGBT+, over half (54.6 per cent) identified as bisexual, 24.5 per cent as gay and 11.7 per cent as lesbian. One in ten (11.3 per cent) reported they identified as trans, while 3.3 per cent said they used another term to describe themselves such as “queer” or “same-gender-loving”.

Gallup said, when compared to the entire population of the US, this meant 3.1 per cent of Americans identified themselves as bi, 1.4 per cent as gay, 0.7 per cent as lesbian and 0.6 per cent as trans.

Young Americans ‘far more likely’ to identify as LGBT+

According to Gallup, one of the contributing factors for the LGBT+ community growing in the US is that younger generations are “far more likely to consider themselves as something other than heterosexual”.

One in six (16 per cent) of Americans born between 1997 and 2002 – also known as Gen Z – consider themselves as part of the LGBT+ community. Only 9.1 per cent of Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) identified as something other than straight.

The number continuously decreases with each older generation, and only 1.3 per cent of people born before 1946 identify as part of the LGBT+ community.

The news comes as the Biden administration promises more LGBT+ equality

President Joe Biden has repeatedly called for increasing protections for LGBT+ people in the US, and issued a sweeping executive order affirming LGBT+ non-discrimination protections as one of his first acts in office. The order reinforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and requires the federal government does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity

The action was heralded as “one of the most substantive pro-equality executive orders in history to protect Americans against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity”.

At the same time, he has called for the Equality Act to be enshrined in US law.

Equality Act reintroduced to Congress

Democrats David Cicilline and Jeff Merkley formally reintroduced the Equality Act to the House of Representatives, and the president compelled Congress to finally pass the legislation, which has lingered for years.

The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, public education and several other areas.

Biden said: “Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all.

“Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long.

“Despite the extraordinary progress the LGBTQ+ community has made to secure their basic civil rights, discrimination is still rampant in many areas of our society.”

More: Gay, LGBT, US

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