Ed Team

How Many Are We?

Filed By Ed Team | June 09, 2005 11:37 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement

It's always interesting to see statistics come out of 3rd party sources that have neither a positive nor a negative stake in an issue.

How much of the population is gay? The conservative right has an interest in discrediting the significance of our population and will often say 1-2%. Most recently, the American Family Association of Indiana has been using a figure of 4%, a figure that may discount gays who are not active in relationships but who nevertheless know themselves to be gay. GLBT activists who cite a figure above 10%, on the other hand, group together all those who have same-sex attractions, whether or not they identify as gay.

This morning I stumbled upon a figure that is not vested with any agenda. Buried in the Wall Street Journal, in an article about gay television networks, was a statistic that seems highly credible. "The most obvious audience is gay, lesbian and bisexual viewers. Some 6% to 7% of American Adults identify themselves as being in one of those groups, according to research by Witeck-Combs Communications and Harris Interactive."

I note that many adult gays (over the age of 18, say) in their early 20's are still struggling to identify their orientation, so though eventually identifying as gay, would not necessarily have done it in such a poll. Also, depending how surveys are administered, in a judgemental world in which little civil rights protections exist, many gays will decline to identify themselves as such. 6% - 7% therefore strikes me as the likely floor, with the actual figure somewhat higher.

Consequently, how many are we? At least 6-7%, according to Harris interactive, and probably more.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


DATE: 6/09/2005 02:33:19 PM

That is one reason I always encourage everyone I know to attend gay pride. It is one way to have an idea of how large our community really is. It can also (hopefully) show the powers that be what a large community we are and how much voting/spending power we have.This will not work until everyone sheds whatever hesitation they might have about attending and become willing to stand up and be counted.This of course goes for more than just pride. Its about rallies, protests, elections, etc.

AUTHOR: paula

DATE: 6/09/2005 10:42:38 PM

"This will not work until everyone sheds whatever hesitation they might have..."It is so easy to see how important it is to be out now that I have come out, but I haven't been out long enough to forget the fear that kept me in for so very long.Fear is a very powerful tool that our opponents use to keep us "in our place".Having said all that, I agree with Kevin that it is important, but also understand that it is something that each of us arrives at with on our own timetable. Each time I talk to my friends that are still fearful - I try to tell them how powerfully liberating it was for me, but respect their process, and pray that they will be able to get the courage to be out and proud sooner than later.