Editorial Staff

Younger, Less-Educated, People of Color Are The Most Likely to Identify as LGBT

The Gallup Organization and the Williams Institute at the law school of the University of California, Los Angeles, published the results of the largest ever study of LGBT Americans and reported some interesting results. Among the findings from the survey of over 121,000 Americans, groups most likely to identify as LGBT are African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. “The results show that 4.6% of African-Americans identify as LGBT along with 4.0% of Hispanics and 4.3% of Asians. Among white Americans, the figure was 3.2%.”

The same survey reports that those aged 18 to 29 are three times as likely as those aged 65 and over to identify as LGBT. Considering that people who are now elderly grew up in an atmosphere that was probably far less accepting of alternative sexual identities than today’s social milieu, it should not be surprising that younger people are more likely to identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

College graduates are less likely than their high school educated counterparts to identify as LBGT. “Some college, but no college degree” represents the educational level of those most likely to see themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Results from this survey are challenging the stereotypes held by some people about those in the LBGT community. For instance: Does the “down low” phenomenon that was once discussed regarding young black men still exist? Or was the whole phenomenon just media hype, created to sell books and scare black women into fearing young black men were disease vectors?

Charles Blow, writing in the New York Times, reached out to those working with the LBGT community for explanations of the Gallup results:

Could it be that outreach programs on H.I.V. and AIDS are better at reaching young people of color? Could it be a new level of openness among celebrities and acceptance by politicians? Could it be that some men of color have less at stake financially that could be jeopardized by identifying as gay than their white counterparts?

The theories kept spinning, but there were few clear answers. Dan Savage, a syndicated sex columnist and the originator of the “It Gets Better” antibullying campaign, summed up the consensus concisely: “Boy, this is fascinating stuff.”

This is fascinating stuff. But the exact meaning of these results–is society becoming more accepting of LBGT people; are black people in particular more accepting of LBGT people that is commonly acknowledged; are acceptance movements and outreach efforts to reach the LGBT community having an effect–is still a matter of open debate.

Click here for full analysis of the Gallup Special Report on LGBT Americans.

[Source: The Root]

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