Gallup: More Adults Identifying As LGBT(…), Which Implies Even More Will

For the purposes of full disclosure (as they say), I self-identify as a yak. Thus far I am the only known Yak-American. But once the advantages of yakitude become better known, this number is sure to swell.

As have the numbers for those who self-identify as LGBT(…). The ellipsis indicate its terms are being added to on a regular basis. This is necessary, because consider there are significant absences. So far, for instance, objectum-sexuals, i.e. those who lust after inanimate objects, do not yet have their own official letter. Look for this discrimination to be redressed.

Every entry in the “LGBT(…)” string specifies a sexual desire. It is thus of the utmost consequence to grasp that people yearn to broadcast and define their self-worth, to define their very essence, by what they sexually desire.

The thinking is that every sexual desire except that which is oriented toward procreation and the family demands special recognition. And this is fair enough, because procreation is what sex is for, teleologically speaking, and thus activities which are not so oriented are not strictly sexual, but imitations. Since the range of imitation is limited only by imagination, and since people’s imaginations along these lines are fecund, therefore the state of a person’s non-procreative desire requires a label to assist outsiders. You can’t tell the players without a program.

Anyway, Gallup has been asking people about their sexual desires for a number of years. It’s not clear how honest people are when receiving a phone call from a stranger who asks, “Pardon me, sir or madam or whatever, would you please describe the nature of your sexual desires?” Yours Truly would not lie to the caller, but the answer I provided would not be considered satisfactory. Many would lie, we might guess, a guess which has consequences.

From their latest survey, Gallup says:

The portion of American adults identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) increased to 4.1% in 2016 from 3.5% in 2012. These figures, drawn from the largest representative sample of LGBT Americans collected in the U.S., imply that more than an estimated 10 million adults now identify as LGBT in the U.S. today, approximately 1.75 million more compared with 2012.

The increase appears to be regular; there are no sudden jumps; but then there are only a few years upon which to draw. The question is: why the increase?

Millennials, defined here as those born between 1980 and 1998, drive virtually all of the increases observed in overall LGBT self-identification. The portion of that generation identifying as LGBT increased from 5.8% in 2012 to 7.3% in 2016. LGBT identification remained relatively stable over the five-year period at 3.2% among Generation X and declined slightly from 2.7% to 2.4% among baby boomers and from 1.8% to 1.4% among traditionalists.

Traditionalists (they say) are those born 1913-1945; their numbers of self-identifying LGBT(…)s are declining because, one surmises, those who act on non-procreative sexual activities are more apt to sicken and die earlier, thus there will be fewer LGBT(…) left to self-report in latter years. Or it could be the older traditionalists had more LGBT(…), and these older folks on average die before younger ones. Or it could be as people age, they change their minds about their earlier experiments in living. Or the data could just be wrong.

Or it could be right, meaning the oldest generation cared less about identifying themselves through sexual desires, which they anyway thought should be reproductive oriented.

The next group tracked, Baby Boomers, born (they say) 1946-1964, are only now starting to die off in great number; and their numbers of self-identification are dropping, too, from 2.7% in 2012 to 2.4% in 2016. Of course, it remains a good possibility these changes in numbers, when extrapolated to all Americans, are within the prediction error of surveys.

Millennials have the largest percentage of non-teleologicals (NTs)—a term (you heard it here first!) which is shorter than LGBT(…), and fixed. There are two probable explanations for the increases seen in this group.

The first is that the real number of NTs is some high number, and that folks, especially younger Americans, are losing their fear of admitting to want to direct their energies against procreation. Thus, surveys will reveal greater and greater support until this supposed real number is reached, after which it will level off and remain at the “natural” “background level.”

Shyness is a plausible explanation, and surely a true one for some people—people which must include all age groups. Yet since the numbers for those born before 1964 are dropping, and the numbers for those born between 1965 and 1979 are holding steady, the biological solution (early deaths) mentioned earlier must be of stronger force than at first thought. If it wasn’t, the numbers in the older groups would also have increased because some of them are losing their shyness. (It could be that shyness is increasing among the newly old, but there is no evidence for this.)

A second explanation is that as non-teleologism (NTism) becomes more acceptable, it garners more recruits. This is controversial because this suggests at least occasional agency or choice, motives which NTs are anxious to deny. Yet if people are “born that way”, shyness is the only solid explanation (besides limited or bad data) for the within-year difference in cohorts. In 2012, 1.8% of Traditionalists admitted NTism, yet 5.8% of Millennials did, a huge gap.

Of course, agency and choice need not (always) come into it. Consider two ‘L’ women who adopt. It is plausible to suggest that their adopted child is more likely to self-identify as NT than a child created by teleological parents, and this difference will not be because of choice on the part of their children.

On the other hand, given the “cool” and (let’s admit it) faddish nature of NTism, choice will play a part in recruiting some people to self-identify as members of the more exotic letters. Choice, for NT or against, is also apparent because, as of 2016, only 1.9% of those calling themselves “Highly religious” admitted being NT, while a full 7.0% of those who said they were “Not religious” self-identified as NT. Religious people in the America, and most are Christian, are vastly more likely to recognize the teleological nature of sex, and so are not likely to define themselves by their sexual desires, which puts them right inside the teleological camp.

Either way, the second explanation says the increases in NTism will build upon themselves. This means there is no “natural” limit, but a level which fluctuates as the culture does.


  1. Interestingly, I see Jerry Coyne regularly self-identifies as a cat (search his WhyEvolutionIsTrue blog for ‘Professor Ceiling Cat’) and that he blogs cat banalities each and every day as the mouthpiece for a cat called ‘Hili’. Clearly he is heavily invested in his feline identity.

  2. “Baby Boomers, born (they say) 1946-1964, are only now starting to die off in great number”. Are we? I’d better stop buying green bananas then.

  3. There’s a T-Shirt logo, incorporating some form of the word “teleological” just waiting to be distributed. “I was a Teleological Crusader before it was cool,” perhaps.

  4. The secular obsession with the pelvis knows no bounds. Though in the long run, Darwin is not mocked.

  5. LGBT is a fake category. It doesn’t describe a race (a people) nor does it describe a sex (male or female).

    LGBT didn’t increase from 3.5% to 4.1% precisely because there is no such thing as as LGBT.

    Proper polling would have ascertained the percentages for heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual. If desired, proper polling would have ascertained percentages for cross-dressers, self-made eunuchs, those who take testosterone and the like.

    Also, a properly designed public opinion poll accounts for those who fake results and those who decline to report. If Briggs claims to be a stats guy, he should know this.

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