Survey: 70% of Heterosexuals Know Someone Gay

The results of a recent online survey by Harris Interactive and Witeck-Combs Communications reveal contemporary attitudes about “coming out” and the coming out process.

According to the online study, conducted in September of this year, 70% of adults polled said that they know someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. The survey included 2,932 adults in the United States. Of those surveyed, 2,548 identified as straight while 324 identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

HrcSome stats: “Fully, 83 percent of those who self-identify as gay or lesbian consider themselves out. In general, when all GLBT respondents were asked if they considered themselves open about their sexual orientation, large majorities of them said they are out to their close friends (92%) and to their parents (78%). Many gays and lesbians also indicated they are out to other relatives such as grandparents or cousins (68%), acquaintances and to casual friends (68%) and to co-workers and colleagues (66%).”

As far as reasons for staying in the closet, 54% of LGBT respondents cited fear of hate crimes as a reason someone might not come out. Rejection by family, friends, and employers were also rated high as reasons to stay in the closet.

No data was available on the fear of ruined political careers.

Said Wes Combs, President of Witeck-Combs: “Though attitudes throughout American society toward gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have changed tremendously over the past several decades, it’s not surprising to learn that there is still a widespread concern among gays and lesbians about becoming a victim of hate if they are open about their sexual orientation. But the results of this survey are encouraging about the numbers of people who choose to be open in spite of the risks.”


  1. Zeke says

    Correction: 70% KNOW that they know a GLBorT person. The other 30% know one but don’t KNOW that they know one.

    I find it impossible to believe that there is ANYONE in this country that doesn’t know a GLBorT person.

    Speaking as a person who grew up in Mississippi, I can confidently assure you that even those who live under rocks there know a GLBorT person.

  2. dc8 says

    Great photo selection, Andy. Can you please link again to the site that defines “gay face” ?

  3. Leo says

    The statistic that 83% of those who identified themselves as gay or lesbian were out surprises me.

  4. Jordan says

    Interesting article, but was it necessary to have a picture of Lance and Reichen accompany it? Haven’t we seen enough of them? Okay, I can’t speak for everyone, but I know I have.

  5. Zeke says

    Leo, the key words in the sentence are “who identified themselves as gay…” It goes without saying that closeted people are far more likely to not self-identify as gay.

    A recent survey showed that 10% of people who were sexually active with members of the same sex described themselves as “straight”.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the MAJORITY of gay people at any given time are completely, or to a great extent, closeted. Many of whom don’t even think of themselves as gay or bisexual.

  6. Zeke says

    I should clarify that in my previous post I should have said “the MAJORITY of HOMOSEXUAL people…”

    To me there is a big difference between being homosexual and being gay.

  7. just sayin' says

    Reichen needs to lose the vest. He’s a goodlooking man with a great physique, but in that picture he looks like some fuddy-duddy lawyer playing at dressing up. The outfit just looks weighed down and clunky.

  8. Not a fashion whore says

    Yes, Reichen’s combo is indeed odd – a tux jacket with vest? Is he trying to blaze new sartorial ground?

  9. Anon says

    Isn’t Oct 11th “National Coming Out Day”? Oh boy! or boys! (as the case may be).

    Q: who is the least relevant person you have to come out to? The mailman? Any opinions?

  10. Phillip in Oz says

    Why, in every photo of Lance that I have seen, does he have an expression like he is the cat that got the canary???

    I suppose it has nothing to do with the gorgeous Reichen being by his side?! :)

    I’m as jealous as all hell.

  11. rudy says

    You are not only Not a Fashion Whore, you are also not fashion literate. A waistcoat (pronounced “wescut”) is the original pairing for formal wear (albeit with a wing collar and bowtie), before the abominable cumberbund. La Reich is trying to look deserving of an award (his bset acting performance if he pulls it off). La Lance looks perpetually surprised because he has had a very bad brow lift. He never was an attractive man. Now he is an unattractive man with feminized (cheek implants and nose job) and unbalanced features. Poor dear, he looks like he used the same discount coupon that Tara Reid used for her boob job.

  12. says

    These survey results are unreliable.

    1) What does it mean to “know someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender”? Do the respondents believe this is limited to personal acquaintances; or does it include GLBT celebrities (e.g. Elton John, Sir Ian McKellen) among others?

    2) Online surveys are greatly susceptible to participation inequality. Due to this, the results fail to represent the online community, let alone the world. Under the Methodology secion of the survey press release, it is even admitted that the “online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated”.

    Ridiculous. Yet surely the press is eager to bandy the results as if they were true, or at least accurate. It does not seem to even come close.

  13. SUFIAN says


    2 observations:

    1. Waistcoat is commonly referred to as “vest” in US and Canada;

    2. While it is not uncommon to pair waistcoat/vest with formal tuxedo wear, the emphasis is on its being *low-cut*. From what one can see in the picture, Reichen’s is cut way too high, hence creating what someone here has called the “bulky” look. In fact, I wonder if his piece of garment could be considered as “low-cut waistcoat” at all. Regardless, it’s not a good look for him.

  14. rudy says

    No darling, there continues to be a sartorial distinction between a vest and a waistcoat even if North Americans tend toward linguistic sloppiness. Traditionally, a vest has a full back whilest (might as well use the archaic form when discussing waistcoats) a waistcoat is worn with a neck loop and fastened with back straps and a buckle. Furthermore, the waistcoast was traditionally cut low (“deep gore” in tailoring lingo) to display the stud set used to fasten the “bib” of the formal wing collar shirt. This is also the reason that the sleeves of formal jackets are usually cut shorter than those of suits and sport coats (all the better to diplay the matching cufflinks). The more modern formal pairing of a spread collar shirt and knotted tie have rendered the studs unviewable, if not altogether obsolete. In addition, a knotted tie looks ridiculous with a cumberbund (well, even more ridiculous than a cumberbund itself, in my opinion); hence, a return to the vest-like garment with formal wear. The modern formal vest is also cut higher (“high gore”) to display the vest, which is usually of a contrasting fabic, e.g., jacquard, damask, grosgrain, etc. This bit of froppery harkens back to ascots as the neckwear of choice for “white tail” occasions and is rarely worn today. One tends to look like a waiter rather than a guest if one dons white tie at any gathering other than the New Year’s Ball in Vienna. Credit (or blame) Armani (late ’80s) with sparking the revision in men’s formal wear. As for appearing bulky, that is the result of multiple layers of clothing and is compensated for by lengthening the cut of the jacket to fall well below the buttocks, to give a longer “line”. Whether La Reich’s jacket was properly tailored thus I cannot tell from the cropped photograph. Lastly, men with well-built physiques tend to look bulky in clothing which is why designers use rail-thin models. The clothes simply drape (“hang” for North Americans) better on thinner bodies. Clearly, I know too much about esoteric subjects but you challenged my knowledge of satorial minutia. Bon chance, cheri.

  15. says


    There are actually interesting statistics in this post about shifting viewpoints on homosexuals and you’re talking about Lance’s eyebrows and Reichen’s vest (um Waist-coat).

    Is it possible we are the shallow, senseless, sex-obsessed, jaded, bitter bitches that many people claim we are?

  16. rudy says

    So talk about them, Danny Boy. What are you? The self-appointed Discussion Police? Have you so little cranial capacity that you can only discuss one subject? Moreover, you must have missed the previous posts about the unreliable survey sample. What extrapolations are you going to make from that? Go ahead, talk about it.

  17. Tagg says

    Make that “like the cat that porked the canary,” although but one in, ahem, a long line. Lehmkuhl said on his unmourned QTV egoganza that he unconsciously always picked “huge” guys, and, earlier, on his “radio show” that Chip’s nickname was “Phar Lap…like the racehorse.” Wonder why he calls Lance, “Bear”? Yes, he does.

  18. JP says

    Speaking of surgery gone wrong: Reichen’s amazing ears job seems to be staying in place but his chin is begining to look like the love child of Jay Leno and a plucked chicken’s ass. Can implants slide?

  19. says


    Using the longest word you could find in the thesaurus doesn’t make your comments any more credible or intelligent.

    If the data is flawed, you can talk about that, rather than how Reichen’s outfit is. If the sample group is out of place, you can talk about that rather than how Lance’s eye-brows are.

    Hopefully, Andy has learned that if a picture of Reichen is posted, or his name mentioned in a post, we will inevitably end up bitching about how big of a gold-digging, media-whoring, power bottom size queen he is.

    And no, I’m not the Discussion Police, but to be honest, I’m starting to be embarrassed by people like you.

  20. rudy says

    Danny Boy, Sad, sad little pseudo-intellectual postings. You are the one that missed the pivotal decisional factoid in the subject that you raised. I was responding to one of the other subjects raised in this thread. Read yours; read mine. You embarrass too easily. Do not let your insecurities and shortcomings (multi-entendre intended) get the better of you.