Less than 2% of Americans are homosexuals

Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are.

That’s the title of a May 31, 2012 article by Garance Franke-Ruta, a senior editor of The Atlantic, a left-leaning magazine. Here’s the article:

Surveys show a shockingly high fraction think a quarter of the country is gay or lesbian, when the reality is that it’s probably less than 2 percent.

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One in ten. It’s the name of the group that puts on the Reel Affirmations gay and lesbian film festival in Washington, D.C., each year. It’s the percent popularized by the Kinsey Report as the size of the gay male population. And it’s among the most common figures pointed to in popular culture as an estimate of how many people are gay or lesbian.

But what percentage of the population is actually gay or lesbian? With the debate over same-sex marriage again an emerging fault line in American political life, the answer comes as a surprise: A lower number than you might think — and a much, much, much lower one than most Americans believe.

In surveys conducted in 2002 and 2011, pollsters at Gallup found that members of the American public massively overestimated how many people are gay or lesbian. In 2002, a quarter of those surveyed guessed upwards of a quarter of Americans were gay or lesbian (or “homosexual,” the third option given). By 2011, that misperception had only grown, with more than a third of those surveyed now guessing that more than 25 percent of Americans are gay or lesbian. Women and young adults were most likely to provide high estimates, approximating that 30 percent of the population is gay. Overall, “U.S. adults, on average, estimate that 25 percent of Americans are gay or lesbian,” Gallup found. Only 4 percent of all those surveyed in 2011 and about 8 percent of those surveyed in 2002 correctly guessed that fewer than 5 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian.

Such a misunderstanding of the basic demographics of sexual behavior and identity in America has potentially profound implications for the acceptance of the gay-rights agenda. On the one hand, people who overestimate the percent of gay Americans by a factor of 12 seem likely to also wildly overestimate the cultural impact of same-sex marriage. On the other hand, the extraordinary confusion over the percentage of gay people may reflect a triumph of the gay and lesbian movement’s decades-long fight against invisibility and the closet.

“My first reaction to that, aside from a little chuckle, is that it’s actually a sign of the success of the movement for LGBT rights,” said Stuart Gaffney, a spokesman for the group Marriage Equality USA. “We are a small minority, and we will never have full equality without the support of the majority, and a poll like that suggests the majority is extremely aware of their gay neighbors, coworkers, and friends.”

In recent years, as homosexuality has become less stigmatized, pro-gay rights groups have come around to acknowledging that a smaller percent of people identify themselves as gay than some of the early gay rights rhetoric claimed, based on Alfred Kinsey’s 1948 report, “Sexuality in the Human Male.” His survey research on non-random populations in the immediate post-World War II period concluded that 10 percent of men “were predominantly homosexual between the ages of 16 and 55” and that 37 percent had had at least one homosexual experience in their lives, but did not get into questions of identity per se.

Contemporary research in a less homophobic environment has counterintuitively resulted in lower estimates rather than higher ones. The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a gay and lesbian think tank, released a study in April 2011 estimating based on its research that just 1.7 percent of Americans between 18 and 44 identify as gay or lesbian, while another 1.8 percent — predominantly women — identify as bisexual. Far from underestimating the ranks of gay people because of homophobia, these figures included a substantial number of people who remained deeply closeted, such as a quarter of the bisexuals. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of women between 22 and 44 that questioned more than 13,500 respondents between 2006 and 2008 found very similar numbers: Only 1 percent of the women identified themselves as gay, while 4 percent identified as bisexual.

Higher numbers can be obtained when asking about lifetime sexual experiences, rather than identity. The Williams Institute found that, overall, an estimated 8.2 percent of the population had engaged in some form same-sex sexual activity. Put another way, 4.7 percent of the population had wandered across the line without coming to think of themselves as either gay or bisexual. Other studies suggest those individuals are, like the bisexuals, mainly women: The same CDC study that found only 1 percent of women identify as lesbian, for example, found that 13 percent of women reported a history of some form of sexual contact with other women.

“Estimates of those who report any lifetime same-sex sexual behavior and any same-sex sexual attraction are substantially higher than estimates of those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual,” the Williams Institute’s Gary J. Gates concluded.

These numbers are significant because identity — and not behavior — is the central determinant of whether or not someone will seek a same-sex marriage. A straight woman who makes out a couple of times with a female friend in college is not going to seek a same-sex marriage, nor is a guy who fooled around once with a male friend while drunk in high school. Neither individual is demographically relevant to the question of how often same-sex marriages will occur. And it’s not clear at all what fraction of bisexuals will seek out same-sex marriages.

Overall, there have been fewer than 75,000 state-sanctioned same-sex marriages in the United States since they began to be permitted less than a decade ago, according to an estimate by Marriage Equality USA. Over the eight years since Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in May 2004, 18,462 same-sex couples married in the Bay State. Another 18,000 were estimated to have wed in California during the few months before Proposition 8 passed in 2008, banning future ones; those marriages remain on the books, as the proposition was not retroactive. It’s not totally clear how many same-sex marriages have taken place in New York, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and the District of Columbia, the other jurisdictions where it is permitted.

[…] One thing’s for sure: it’s hard to imagine the fact that so many think the country is more than a quarter gay or lesbian has no impact on our public policy.

~End of article~

Homosexuals comprise less than 2% of the U.S. population, but Americans inexplicably believe their numbers are grossly higher — from 10% to 25% (1 out of every 4 Americans!) to 30% (nearly 1 out of every 3 Americans!).

And so this teeny miniscule group wields outsized power and influence on TV and movies, comics books, public school curriculum (see here and here), retail stores (see JC Penney and Chevy), our First Amendment free speech rights (see Christian teacher removed for criticizing gay marriage), and government policy (DADT, gay marriage).

Gosh, do you think there’s an AGENDA that’s being systematically foisted on this country?

“A middle ground might be to fight for same-sex marriage and its benefits and then, once granted, redefine the institution of marriage completely, to demand the right to marry not as a way of adhering to society’s moral codes but rather to…radically alter an archaic institution.” –Michelangelo Signorile, “Bridal Wave,” OUT magazine, December/January 1994, p. 161.

“[Legalizing “same-sex marriage”] is also a chance to wholly transform the definition of family in American culture. It is the final tool with which to dismantle all sodomy statutes, get education about homosexuality and AIDS into public schools, and, in short, usher in a sea change in how society views and treats us.” –Michelangelo Signorile, “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do,” OUT magazine, May 1996, p. 30. [Source]

~Eowyn

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26 responses to “Less than 2% of Americans are homosexuals

  1. Thank you Dr. Eowyn for this most informative post! The media and their cohorts continue to lie to the American people. This study at the UCLA School of Law is fascinating, and you have also presented other documentary evidence to show the same results.

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  2. Thank you, Eo, for this post. I was reading “Jenny’s” pro-Penney’s blog last night and she unfairly portrayed us as gay-hating, gay-bashing brainwashed bigots but she had no facts to back up her rant. Well, it appears that there IS brainwashing going on. This article proves it. I will soon be 60 years old, and in the thousands of people I have known in my life, in schools, employment, churches, friends of friends and relatives, I have only known 11 gay people. That’s a way smaller percentage than what Hollywood and the MSM is showing me.

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    • Facts don’t mean anything, agenda trumps all.

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    • edward oleander

      How many gays you meet is so dependent on how and where you live your life… I once worked as a bus boy at a restaurant where every male waiter was gay, over a dozen right there. They also taught me to lay aside my homophobia. I worked 1st Aid at dozens of gay-themed or gay-friendly events here in Minneapolis. I trained gay volunteers at some of these events. In all, I have met, treated or trained well over 1000 folks in the GLBT community.

      I’m also willing to bet we’ve all met more gays than we realize. Nobodies “gaydar” is perfect, so we often just don’t know…

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      • You’re missing the point, Edward. My post isn’t about what % of the US population are gay based on our personal experiences. We have survey data by a gay-friendly institute and the federal CDC.

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        • edward oleander

          I think we were actually agreeing… I was trying to point out that personal experience is so variable that it can’t be considered reliable in either direction. I think ALL sources tend to come up with the numbers they want to by manipulating statistics. 10% is way too high (let alone 25%, which is ludicrous), but I think 2% is too low… From looking at how honestly these types of surveys are answered, I would put my dime on 4%-5%, but that would include the whole GLBT population, not just gays…

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  3. The minorities have certain rights and the idea that being gay is similar to being black is the way that they figured that they could legitimize their demands for their rights. The way this has been sold doesn’t really cope with the confusion that surrounds the issues that are clouding peoples judgment and taking up valuable time that should be used to straighten out our economic existential crisis. Forcing an entire nation to have an opinion on something as ludicrous as same sex marriage in a Judeo Christian society is just plain nuts. Why our elected officials place these things above creating jobs and stopping bailouts or illegal wars, and killing people with drones is not sane. We have nutty people electing insane people and the result is utter madness. We have given babies bazookas and pandemonium has broken out big time. Giving women the right to vote was just adding more nutty voters to the electorate to elect more insane politicians into office. Only Jesus can turn this around, and the only way things will change is if we pray for the Holy Spirit to lead everyone into all truth. Pray pray prapy.

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  4. Interesting, Hardnox! I didn’t know about the 10%-from-a-prison-population.

    Another source for that bogus 10% figure is the (in)famous Alfred Kinsey Report. Turns out not only was Kinsey a bisexual (if not homosexual) wife-swapper and pedophile-pederast, the sample he used was entirely skewed, i.e., not representative — which makes his findings (like the 10% figure) non-representative and non-generalizable to the American population at large. Despite Kinsey’s egregiously flawed methodology, he is still cited to this day and celebrated as some hero. Sick!

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    • There does seem to be a higher (than population normal) percentage of homosexuals among the denizens of pop (and highbrow too?) culture: Hollywood, TV, music, arts. I wonder why?

      They are the people aggressively pushing for “gay rights”, “gay curriculum”, and “gay marriage”.

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      • “Sadly, these people have been self-elevated to be the voice of the people when in fact it is simply an exercise for self promotion, via circle fest, and their lust for attention.”

        I believe they’ve been elevated because of ‘idol worship’. The public worships celebrity, ESPECIALLY Hollywood celebrity. Consequently Hollywood ‘types’ start believing that they ARE gods of sorts, certainly more qualified than others to decide what’s right and wrong in society. I mean they have FAN CLUBS for crying out loud! Their ‘public’ adores them, fawns over them, WORSHIPS them. And since there’s big money in Hollywood and money ‘talks’ those who already worship them give even more credence to their opinions because of the misguided thinking that the popular & rich are in some way better than everyone else.

        It’s really disgusting.

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    • No, that is not the difference between pedophile and pederast. It has to do with the age of the victim. Pederasts are men who prey on young adolescent boys. Pedophiles are men and women who prey on small children.

      Free Dictionary:
      Pederast: a man who has sex (usually sodomy) with a boy as the passive partner.
      Pedophile: An adult who is sexually attracted to a child or children.

      Wikipedia:
      Pederasty is (usually erotic) relationship between an older man and an adolescent boy outside his immediate family.
      Pedophilia: As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 or older) typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary).

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      • I hope you’ll forgive me for correcting you. It’s just the definitions you gave presented pederasts in an undeserved good light.

        It’s a useful distinction: Most of those Catholic priests we hear so much about were pederasts, not pedophiles. The Catholic Church didn’t have an epidemic of pedophilia. The problem was/is homosexual priests. Estimates range from 10% to as much as 60% of Catholic priests are homosexual or bisexual.

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        • Hardnox, estimates vary.
          Donald B. Cozzens’ book The Changing Face of the Priesthood estimates the prevalence rangse from 23% to 58%.

          Go here for more details:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_and_Roman_Catholic_priests

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        • Hardnox, please don’t give up on ‘church’ because of the Catholic church! I have a bit of a problem with the media that seems to always talk about ‘the Church’ in relation to the Catholic church, as if that church is the only true Christian church. In actuality all TRUE born-again Christians ARE THE CHURCH… the Bride of Christ. When the media talks about the rules in Obamacare and how forcing religious hospitals, etc to supply birth control and abortifacients to those who work for them is so offensive to ‘The Church’ they’re frankly speaking about Catholics and that really gets to me. It’s like ‘HELLO!’… ‘I’m here, I’m a Christian & I don’t want ANY Christian business, hospital or other wise to be forced into this!!’. I AM ‘the Church’ as are YOU and are ALL true Christians. NO single denomination is ‘the Church’!

          OK…. I’m ranting a bit here so really what I wanted to say is that there are MANY wonderful churches of many denominations where you can find men (and women) STRIVING to be pure in all their ways. You might want to consider one of them for your ‘assembling’ together (as scripture tells us NOT to forsake). Yes, sadly there are pastors in ALL denominations that are ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’. But the vast majority are simply good Christian people striving to be worthy disciples of Jesus and spread the gospel to those who need it. :o)

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  5. If that’s true, then they must all live here in the Ann Arbor area, because I’ve known lots of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people. I believe they’re all psychologically unwell, but it must be a pretty common psychological disorder.

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    • As is the case in San Francisco! LGBT are over-represented in SF, Berkeley, Ann Arbor, and major college towns because the urban culture there is hospitable to them.

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  6. Wow. What a relief to learn that only 2% of Americans are queer. I was beginning to think that the entire Democratic Party and all of their voters were homosexual.

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