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Gallup Breaks Down Percentage of LGBT People by State in Largest Study of its Kind: POLL

Gallup is out with new poll results today based on responses to the question, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?" The question was asked in tracking interviews during the second half of 2012 and is the largest single study of the LGBT population distribution on record.

GallupThe District of Columbia was found to have the largest percentage of LGBT-identifying residents by far with 10%, and North Dakota the least, with 1.7%.

They note:

As was outlined in the first report of these data in October, measuring sexual orientation and gender identity can be challenging because these concepts involve complex social and cultural patterns. There are a number of ways to measure lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientation, and transgender status. Gallup chose a broad measure of personal identification as LGBT because this grouping of four statuses is commonly used in current American discourse, and as a result has important cultural and political significance. One limitation of this approach is that it is not possible to separately consider differences among lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, or transgender individuals. A second limitation is that this approach measures broad self-identity, and does not measure sexual or other behavior, either past or present.

Here are the results:


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  1. The survey pool was the largest in Gallup history: 122,000 interviews. Even the state subsets are large enough to be statistically reliable.

    The numbers (as many commentators here noted) are not % of lesbians and gays, but % or persons telling the pollster that they are lesbian or gay.

    Sexual orientation is biologically determined. 8.5% of rams show no jump in their blood testosterone level when around ewes in heat. Those same-sex attraction rams have a pre-optic anterior hypothalamus that is 50% smaller than in rams whose blood testosterone level shoots up in the presence of ewes in heat. The identical difference occurs in gay men (but not lesbians).

    That section of the hypothalamus controls our reactions to odors, particularly sexual scents. In straight men and lesbians, exposure to female musk scents excites that area. In straight women and gay men, exposure to male musk scents does the same.

    In the 18-29 age cohort, 6.4% told Gallup that they identify as gay or lesbian, but even that number is artificially suppressed by internalized homophobia among the male respondents. 8.3% of the women in that age cohort say they are lesbians, basically the same number as for gay rams.

    It will take awhile to prove it all up, but everything points to 3 conclusions: the younger they are, the more likely to be out; there is no gender gap between % of gay men and lesbians; and 1 in 12 Americans are gay or lesbian whether they know it or say it or not.

    Posted by: John | Mar 3, 2013 12:11:49 PM

  2. Hey folks. One has to take this survey only for what it is. It does not claim to represent the numbers of LGBT folks. It does not claim to represent those who engage in sexual behavior with members of the same sex. It merely asks a question, records the answers and reports the data.
    I think it IS valuable to report these data. And as there are no clear definitions for exactly who is or is not "L, G, B or T," it's the best we have, and certainly valuable in the discussion as DOMA and Prop 8 are being discussed.

    Posted by: David B | Mar 3, 2013 1:53:58 PM

  3. in the world of hypothetical never-gonna-happens, what if we all woke up one morning and all gay people had some identifiable "mark" on them?

    Outing the anti-gay poseurs among us, and waking everyone else up to the fact that YES, we are everywhere. the world can't, and won't, disown 20 million sons and daughters.


    and yeah, even in completely anonymous surveys many deeply closeted people will still lie.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Mar 3, 2013 2:07:08 PM

  4. All anyone has to do is go to the M4M section of Craig's List to see all the straight guys looking to have sex with other men.

    Posted by: JT | Mar 3, 2013 5:29:43 PM

  5. I'm gay and no one asked me.

    Posted by: Carl | May 9, 2015 2:00:23 PM

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