The share of Americans who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) has risen to an estimated 5.6 percent, up from 4.5 percent in 2017, according to a new Gallup survey.
The latest results are based on more than 15,000 interviews conducted throughout 2020 with Americans 18 and older.
Most LGBT Americans identify as bisexual; and one in six Generation Z adults consider themselves LGBT, the highest ever recorded according to reports.
“One of the main reasons LGBT identification has been increasing over time is that younger generations are far more likely to consider themselves to be something other than heterosexual,” the report concluded. “The vast majority of Gen Z adults who identify as LGBT—72 percent—say they are bisexual.”
“Thus, 11.5 percent of all Gen Z adults in the U.S. say they are bisexual, with about two percent each identifying as gay, lesbian or transgender.”
The report also found that about half of millennials, those ages 24 to 39 who identify as LGBT, say they are bisexual. LGBT identification is lower in each older generation says Gallup, including an identification with LGBT for two percent or less of Americans born before 1965.
Women are also more likely than men to identify as LGBT with 6.4 percent vs. 4.9 percent, respectively.
Gallup says the pronounced generational differences raise questions about whether higher LGBT identification in younger than older Americans reflects a true shift in sexual orientation, or if it merely reflects a greater willingness of younger people to identify as LGBT.
The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the U.S., believes Americans have grown increasingly supportive of equal rights for the LGBT community and a growing percentage of Americans identify themselves as LGBT.
Adding it signifies that public acceptance is critical for LGBT individuals to feel safe identifying as their true selves.
“This poll confirms what we have long known–that the LGBTQ community is powerful and a growing force in the United States, and around the world,” said Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David. “Young adults, in particular, feel empowered to publicly claim their identities — a compelling finding and validation for the past generations of LGBTQ advocates who have long fought for full equality.
“As a growing percentage of the population comes out as LGBTQ, it only amplifies the need for the Equality Act to be passed through Congress swiftly and with bipartisan support in order to secure consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across all areas of life,” he said.
On Feb. 25, a day after Gallup released its survey results, the House passed the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and other civil rights organizations applauded the move and urged the Senate to follow the House.
“By passing the Equality Act, the U.S. House of Representatives just sent a clear and unwavering message that discrimination against LGBTQ people has no place in public life,” said Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference. “This crucially important legislation would strengthen existing civil rights protections while providing consistent and explicit nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas.
“LGBTQ people deserve to be able to go to work, live their lives, and raise their families free from discrimination, and we urge the Senate to take swift action and pass this legislation,” he said.
The Equality Act is opposed by the Family Research Council and other conservative advocacy organizations.
“The Equality Act is a grave and treasonous threat to our nation’s core values contained in our First Amendment. The fact that no Republicans have co-sponsored it, even those who co-sponsored in the previous Congress, underscores the Democrats’ lurch to the left,” said Tony Perkins, Family Research Council president. “This is a radical bill that uses the government to control, through coercion, how every American thinks, speaks, and acts on issues of human sexuality.
“It may be named the Equality Act, but as the details make quite clear, the only equal thing about it is how much damage it does to many facets of American life,” Perkins said.