According to an article in the San Francisco Gate, a website published by the San Francisco Chronicle, young people of the millennial generation — those born between 1982 and 1998 who are between 18 and 34 years of age — have a 20 percent chance of self-identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ). The article cites a survey taken by GLAAD (formerly called the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation), a media-monitoring organization.
People of older generations may be surprised to learn of the high numbers, particularly in light of the fact that as recently as six years ago, surveys of thousands of Americans by the Williams Institute at UCLA found that less than two percent of respondents self-identified as homosexual.
This is despite ad-hoc opinions that typically believe that between one in ten and one in three Americans falls into one of the aforementioned categories. But following a 2002 Gallup poll showing more accurate figures, there was a mild backlash against gays for exaggerating their numbers and clamoring for formal anti-discrimination protections that other, more populous minorities had not been able to acquire.
While the San Francisco Gate article doesn’t go into too much detail regarding the “identity revolution” survey, some trends are readily apparent from today’s media. First of all, a big part of the LGBTQ number may be the “B” part, where some young people given to experimentation may self-identify at least as bisexual.
There are also likely a significant number of respondents who might normally identify as heterosexual but perhaps chose to check one of the other categories as a way of sympathizing with their LGBTQ peers.
According to the survey, just 14 percent of millennials object to LGBTQ lifestyles, answering that they felt “somewhat” or “very” uncomfortable when asked questions regarding LGBTQ sexuality.
GLAAD chose to label these people as “resisters.” These so-called resisters said they were most uncomfortable when seeing same-sex couples hold hands or learning that their children had been given lessons in LGBTQ history. The places where resisters said they felt most comfortable with LGBTQ people were houses of worship.
Still, the unusually high numbers may come as a shock to members of both “Generation X,” as people ages 35 to 51 are known, and to Baby Boomers, who are between ages 52 and 71. Only 7 percent of Baby Boomers self-identify as LGBTQ, so the disparity has some people scratching their heads.
Can it simply be explained by millennials being more comfortable with the process of “coming out” to their peers and families?
A wide range of television shows and movies — including Disney’s new live-action “Beauty and the Beast” — have scenes that feature gay characters or subplots (Disney’s new animated Rapunzel television movie features the first female “Princess” character that refuses to marry the male lead).
Acceptance of gay lifestyles appears to be at an all-time high in American culture, with parades, marches, protests and advocacy organizations popping up in nearly every U.S. city and state, so it’s hard to say which is the “chicken” in the equation, and which is the “egg.”
Certainly, if one looks at the older half of the generation following millennials — effectively teenagers — less than 50 percent of this group self-identifies as “exclusively heterosexual,” according to a new report from advertising agency J. Walter Thompson.
The ad agency’s survey of teens had them assign a score to themselves between zero and six, where zero equated to “completely straight” and six translated as “totally gay.” More than one out of three respondents chose a number from one to five, rejecting the gender binary that their grandparents for the most part endorse. These youngsters believe strongly in gender-neutral bathrooms, genderless clothing and not always identifying as one gender or another.
The GLAAD survey of millennials indicated that it isn’t simply just a case of individuals identifying as gay; 12 percent of millennials identify as “non-cis-gender” — that is to say, not agreeing with the gender identity that corresponds to their sex at birth.
By contrast, only 6 percent of Generation X and 3 percent of Baby Boomers self-identify this way. The questioning on the survey led many millennials to answer that they felt the Trump administration had “left many marginalized groups fearful that hard-fought progress may now be in jeopardy,” but perhaps if the same question were worded to ask respondents if they thought President Trump was anti-gay, it might not have brought so many positive responses.
President Trump has repeatedly stated he’s not in favor of repealing gay marriage and was even photographed holding a rainbow flag aloft at a Colorado rally in 2016.
Ultimately, it’s unknown what’s truly behind this phenomenon, but some people believe there may be other forces at work besides simply television and movies. Media commentators have made much ado about chemical residues in public water supplies, particularly contaminants such as Bisphenol-A (BPA), which leaches from plastic water and drink bottles.
BPA is known to disrupt hormones and cause imbalances, particularly in children. To be sure, there’s much more residue from plastic bottles and other waste in freshwater bodies and in the oceans today than a generation or two ago.
In the meantime, older folks might want to inquire how much of this professed “gender questioning” is genuine, versus simply a product of youthful social rebellion. There’s anecdotal evidence to support that questioning one’s sexuality at a young age tends to result in choices being made that become more rigid as people get older; the idea that someone who’s 50 years old doesn’t know what gender they are seems dubious at best.
~ Conservative Zone