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While the Christofascist may have won the battle of the 2016 presidential election by putting Donald Trump, ironically, a morally bankrupt individual, in the White House, they continue to lose the larger cultural war, especially when it comes to the visibility and self-identification of LGBT individuals in American society. Not only are the number of gays increasing in every state and across ever demographic of the population, but the acceleration of the phenomenon is increasing, especially among Millennials. And with increased LGBT visibility, experience has shown that growing visibility correlates with (i) growing societal acceptance, and (ii) increases in those who have walked away from organized religion. Indeed, white evangelical Christians are a shrinking portion of American society notwithstanding the Republican Party's never ending self prostitution to a demographic increasingly know for its hatred of others by a majority of Americans, certainly among the younger generations.
A new Gallup survey has a number of findings that religious extremists like Vice President elect Mike Pence will find alarming, not the least of which is that 7.3% of Millennials identify as LGBT. The Christofascist myth that gays are only 1-3% of the population is clearly wrong. Personally, I have always believed that if the stigma manufactured by religion were to suddenly disappear, the true number of LGBT individuals in society might hit 10% or more of Americans. Here are some survey highlights:
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.
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.
Among racial and ethnic minorities, the largest increases since 2012 in LGBT identification occurred among Asians (3.5% to 4.9%) and Hispanics (4.3% to 5.4%). Among whites, the comparable figures are 3.2% to 3.6%. Black Americans showed only a slight increase from 4.4% to 4.6%, and among "other" racial and ethnic groups, the increase was from 6.0% to 6.3%.
While the portion of LGBT individuals decreases with income, all income groups saw similar increases in the proportion of adults identifying as LGBT.
The proportion of highly or moderately religious adults who identified as LGBT remained virtually the same between 2012 and 2016, but increased from 5.3% to 7.0% among those who are not religious. As a result, nonreligious adults are now more than three times more likely to identify as LGBT than those who are highly religious.
Self-identification as LGBT represents only one aspect of measuring sexual orientation and gender identity. For example, research shows that direct assessments of same-sex sexual behavior or attraction yield very different (and often larger) population estimates when compared with estimates of LGBT self-identification.
Gallup research shows that data security and confidentiality are not major concerns of millennials. This could be one factor that explains why they are so much more likely to identify as LGBT when compared with other generations. They are more comfortable than their older counterparts with the idea of sharing what some might consider private information on surveys.
Perhaps an even larger factor concerns the differences in social climate that existed when individuals were teenagers and young adults. This is when many LGBT people begin the process of coming out and sharing their sexual orientation and gender identity with others.
Since 1977, Gallup has asked Americans if they think that gay and lesbian relationships between consenting adults should be legal. In July 1986, just 32% supported legalization of same-sex relationships, marking a low point in that support in Gallup polling. By 1999, when the first millennials were becoming adults, half of Americans supported legalization and, as of May 2016, the figure had risen to 68%.
In a span of only five years, the demographic composition of Americans who identify as LGBT has markedly changed. It has become larger, younger, more female and less religious. These demographic traits are of interest to a wide range of constituencies.
Corporate America also increasingly views the LGBT community as a market for consumer products and services and actively courts its support.
As Christofascist in the Trump/Pence nightmare regime - e.g., Jeff Sessions, Betsy DeVos, Rex Tillerson, Ben Carson - wage war on LGBT Americans, I expect the exodus from organized religion will accelerate and the contempt with which evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are viewed will correspondingly increase. If we are lucky as a nation, the Trump/Pence nightmare will be white heterosexual fundamentalist Christians last hurrah and when looked back upon by history will, in fact, have been what ultimately killed fundamentalist Christianity as a political force. The over reaching and hypocrisy of these people is about to be put on high display and will show that they care nothing about others and that their policies are the antithesis of the Gospel message.
P.S., not sure what's going on with South Dakota, but 5% of the population identifying as LGBT was a surprise.