Gallup Poll: Twice as Many Americans Now Identify as LGBTQ+

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday February 17, 2022

A Feb. 17 survey from Gallup shows that, a decade after a 2012 poll showing that 3.5% of Americans identified as LGBTQ+, twice as many Americans now identify as LGBTQ+.

Driven largely by Gen Z, the latest poll shows that 7.1% of America's population now identifies as something other than heterosexual and/or cisgender, NBC News reported.

The change reflects generational comfort levels with regard to stepping out of the closet, NBC News noted.

"More than 1 in 5, or 21 percent, of Generation Z adults identify as LGBTQ, Gallup found," NBC said. "That's almost double the proportion of millennials, who are 26 to 41, at 10.5 percent, and nearly five times the proportion of Generation X, who are 42 to 57, at 4.2 percent."

"Less than 3 percent of baby boomers, who are 58 to 76, identify as LGBTQ, compared to just 0.8 percent of traditionalists, who are 77 or older," the article added.

Not only is the trend increasing with each generational cohort — it's also accelerating, at least within the ranks of Millennials and, especially, Gen Z Americans.

NBC News detailed that "the percentage of Generation Z adults who are queer has almost doubled since 2017 — jumping from 10.5 percent in 2017 to 20.8 percent. The rise shows that younger Gen Zers, who have turned 18 since 2017, are more likely than older Gen Zers to identify as queer."

The poll also suggested that bisexual people constitute the largest single subset of the LGBTQ+ rainbow. Here, too, Gen Z led the way, with a whopping 15% of respondents from that age group saying they were bi, USA Today reported.

But the cultural landscape is not monolithic, NBC News said.

While "70 percent of Americans support same-sex marriage rights, and a majority also support nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people," a "Values and Beliefs" survey from 2021 saw a noticeable decline in acceptance for trans people serving openly in the Armed Forces as compared to a poll from only two years earlier.

Trans athletes, the target of an ongoing and record-shattering rash of hostile legislation, were also a notable subject in that "62 percent of Americans say trans athletes should only be allowed to play on sports teams that correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth," according to last year's poll.

Those attitudes could also be due to change over time.

"America is changing," USA Today quoted the founder and CEO of The Gendercool Project, Jen Grosshandler, as saying.

Grosshandler had a message of hope for today's youth, USA Today added, saying that the country is "opening up to reflect you. You are seen. Keep living your life and everything else will follow."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.