How Many Gay People Are There, Part 2?

The discussion on the most accurate tally of the LGBT community continues. Respected researcher Gary Gates of the Williams Institute released a report and an Op//Ed in the Washington Post.…

I recently reviewed findings from 11 large surveys conducted since 2004, seven in the United States and four internationally. Averaging across the U.S.-based surveys, I found that nearly 9 million Americans (3.8 percent of adults) self-identify as LGBT. That’s equivalent to the population of New Jersey.

An estimated 19 million Americans (8.2 percent) report having engaged in some same-sex sexual behavior, and nearly 26 million (11 percent) report some same-sex sexual attraction. The latter figure is equivalent to the population of Texas.

Readers might be interested in this statement from the Kinsey Institute about the validity of the 10% figure:

The perpetration of the 10% figure can be traced to, Bruce Voeller. In a 1990 article, Voeller, who was in the late 1970s chair of the National Gay Task Force, takes credit for the origination of the 10% myth. Voeller writes in “Some Uses and Abuses of the Kinsey Scale” how he came up with the 10% number: The use of this myth beginning in the late 1970s by the modern gays rights movement’s campaign was to convince politicians and the public that “We [gays and lesbians] Are Everywhere.” (in Homosexuality/Heterosexuality, McWhirter et al, ed, 1990).
My intention isn’t to defend Kinsey’s statistics, but to clarify and create a more accurate history.

Thanks for all of the good work you do at The Williams Institute.

Jennifer Bass
Communications Director
The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction


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