For years the far Right has been insisting that gay people comprise a mere one percent of the population—which somehow bolsters their belief that we don’t deserve equal rights. And for years we’ve worried that this claim would stick, and that would not be good. Worry no more: a recent Gallup survey showed that Americans on average believe that fully 25 percent of all people are gay; and a clear majority, 52 percent, believe that at least one in five is gay or lesbian. These figures are astonishing in light of recent studies that seem to be converging on a figure closer to four percent. How to account for this huge overestimate? Could it be that gays are perceived as such a Godzilla-like menace that their numbers are gigantized? But no, other polling has recorded a steady rise in acceptance of same-sex marriage and GLBT rights in general. Gallup attributes the overestimate to the high visibility of gay issues in the news of late. So activists have been right all along: it’s all about visibility. The more visible we are, the more of us there are. At some point, it seems there are just too many of us to hate.


Articles in GLReview

Discussion1 Comment

  1. It’s pretty astounding the differences in perception overall.

    To think of the possibility of 25% of our population as gay is kind of staggering in view of all the studies and opinions that have been commonly spread over the years. And when we consider that recent 4% number that we’ve seen, it’s even more astounding.

    I have a suspicion that many of those who identify as bisexual are likely to be 60/40 gay-straight or more, and not so 50/50 as they might like to believe. There’s still a fear of coming out to oneself, despite an individual’s overwhelming recognition of how one’s sexuality becomes more apparent.

    Men of a certain age certainly seem to much more prone to realizing their attraction to men. Could the day be coming when there’s a plurality of LGBT folk?

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