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Gallup Poll says 3.4 percent of population is gay, bisexual or transgender

October 18, 2012 - Andrea Johnson
When I was in college, I remember a number of speakers asserted that 10 percent of the population is gay. This week Gallup released a poll showing that about 3.4 percent of the population identifies as either lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Further broken down, the Associated Press reported that the poll shows that people who self-identify as gay or lesbian are pretty evenly distributed across the country, are a bit poorer than the general population and that slightly more minorities than whites are likely to call themselves LGBT. Slightly more than 30 percent of the women are likely to be raising children while fewer men are.

Interestingly, about 8.3 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 29 identified as LGBT, compared with 4.3 percent of men of the same age group, substantially more than older adults. Is this a sign of younger LGBT adults being more comfortable coming out of the closet or perhaps a sign that young people are more likely to experiment sexually than past generations?

Roughly 5 percent of the respondents said they "didn't know" or refused to answer when asked how they identify, which either suggests that 5 percent of gays are in the closet and won't answer even an anonymous poll or are heterosexuals who hate pollsters.

The poll also apparently didn't account for people who are asexual, those who are not interested in having sex and are not attracted to either gender. They exist and could account for 1 to 2 percent of the population and the undecideds in that poll.

Gallup calls it the largest survey of its kind. More than 121,000 people nationwide were interviewed for the poll.

I don't know that percentages matter all that much if gay rights are considered a civil rights issue. Minnesota is set to vote on whether a ban on gay marriage should be included in that state's constitution while today a New York court just struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act banning federal recognition of gay marriage as unconstitutional. I would say the issue is headed for the Supreme Court and will continue to be in the news.


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