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.
Some 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.”