What percentage of America’s population is gay? Go ahead, guess. If you presumed 10 percent, 25 percent or even as high as 30 percent of the nation’s makeup, you would be in the majority of respondents according to Gallup research polls spanning a decade. But you would still be dead wrong.
Gallup conducted surveys in 2002 and 2011 asking respondents how large a chunk of the population they believed was homosexual. Both polls found that participants vastly overestimated the actual figure. Not surprisingly the percentage estimated by those polled had grown from the 2002 to the 2011 analysis, as familiarity with the subject of homosexuality resulted in decreased stigmatization over time. Studies, however, conclude that the actual number of homosexuals in America, gay men, lesbians and transgender, comprise a whopping 1.7% of the population. What is central about the fraction of the population that identifies itself as gay compared with the sway homosexuality holds over today’s culture is its pervasiveness. For centuries that hasn’t been the case. Numbers don’t lie. It is unrealistic to believe that the last ten or fifteen years have miraculously produced this seismic shift in the world’s social and political consciousness and created, instead, a need to dismantle cultural norms that have existed since men and women began to reproduce.
If the 1.7% figure comes as a surprise it shouldn’t. This percentage has been arrived at by several, extensive studies, such as that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Perhaps the most significant of these is the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law study. What gives the Williams Institute such overarching credibility is that it is a gay and lesbian think tank. According to them, that 1.7% fraction climbs to 3.5% or 4.0% if one factors in self-declared bisexuals. A large number of “closeted” individuals also participated in their study. The Williams Institute findings were released in April of 2011. Very little, if any, attention has been paid to it.
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