Study: A Fifth Of All Millennials Identify As LGBTQ

"Though laws can be unwritten, hearts and minds in America have been changed for the better."

We are indeed everywhere: A new study from GLAAD finds that a full 20% of Millennial identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or queer.

Conducted in conjunction with Harris Poll, GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance report found that young people are significantly more likely to embrace a label outside of the heterosexual, cisgender majority. The survey, conducted online among 2,037 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, also indicates more of this generation is comfortable identifying outside traditional binaries such as “gay/straight” and “man/woman.”

Young gay couple holding hands across table

GLAAD’s Sarah Kate Ellis says the study “shows a remarkable new era of understanding and acceptance among young people, an inspiring indication of the future,” despite the uncertain political climate. “Though laws can be unwritten, hearts and minds in America have been changed for the better—and that is a reality less easily unraveled.”

Among Harris Poll’s key findings:

* Accelerating Acceptance 2017 survey shows that Millennials (people ages 18-34) are significantly more likely to openly identify as LGBTQ than generations before them. Specifically, Millennials are more than twice as likely (20% vs. 7%) to identify as LGBTQ than the Boomer generation (people ages 52-71) and two-thirds (20% vs. 12%) more likely than Generation X (people ages 35-51).

* The survey also found that 12% of Millennials identify as transgender or gender non-conforming, meaning they do not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth or their gender expression is different from conventional expectations of masculinity and femininity. That’s twice the amount reported by Generation X (6%).

* While older generations (people ages 35+) of LGBTQ people largely use the words “gay” and “lesbian” and/or “man” and “woman” to describe their sexual orientation and gender identity respectively, Millennials appear more likely to identify in terminology that falls outside those previously traditional binaries.

The survey is just the latest indicator of a new openness about sexual orientation and gender identity: Last March, a report by trend forecasting agency J. Walter Thompson Innovation found only 48% of Generation Z kids (ages 13 to 20) identified as exclusively heterosexual. And UK study from 2015 indicated 29% of young British people identified as bisexual.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
@ItsDanAvery