The percentage of emerging voters who identify as LGBT is roughly eight times as high as that of older Americans, according to a new survey.
A Gallup poll conducted for the year 2020 found that in the age group classified as Generation Z — people between 18 and 23 in 2020 — almost 16 percent said they were in a category that was not heterosexual.
Among Americans age 56 and over, only 2 percent labeled themselves in this way.
Gallup editor Jeffrey Jones said the generational shift reflects a greater acceptance of varied lifestyles.
“Younger people are growing up in an environment where being gay, lesbian or bisexual is not as taboo as it was in the past,” Jones told NBC News.
“So they may just feel more comfortable telling an interviewer in a telephone survey how they describe themselves. In the past, people would maybe be more reluctant.”
The percentage of those who identify as something other than heterosexual declines with age, the survey found.
According to the survey, the LGBT population among Millennials (ages 24-39) was at 9.1 percent, while for Generation X (ages 40-55) the same population reported was at 3.8 percent. Among Baby Boomers (ages 56-74), 2 percent identified as LGBT. Among what the poll called Traditionalists who were over the age of 74, 1.3 percent said they identified as LGBT.
The survey found that overall, 5.6 percent of those surveyed said they were LGBT — up from 4.5 percent in 2017 when Gallup previously conducted a similar poll.
Within the LGBT population, 54.6 percent identified as bisexual, 24.5 percent as gay, 11.7 percent as lesbian and 11.3 percent as transgender. Respondents were also able to choose more than one category.
The Gallup poll surveyed 15,349 adults aged 18 and older in the U.S. and reported a margin of error of +/- 1 percentage point.
Jones told NBC that because identity can be perceived in different ways, not everyone who responded to questions the same way would act in the same fashion.
“People may think of it differently, in the same way they may have different ideas of what a liberal or a moderate or conservative is,” he said. “Basically, we try and use terms that are familiar to most people, that are fairly well understood. But we recognize that people may understand the terms differently.”
Gary Gates, a demographer who has previously worked with Gallup, said the poll is an imprecise snapshot.
“What they’re trying to come up with is the people who self-identify,” Gates told NBC.“It’s a measure of identity, not behavior or feelings or some other measurements we might use. They weren’t trying to count all the people in the closet.”
Some said the numbers could be impacted by the fad of identifying as transgender.
Some really fascinating findings in this big new Gallup survey on Americans identifying as "LGBT." It should lead to lots of deeper investigation to understand what explains some of these astronomical changes, but for now, a few points to note:https://t.co/zXlhQ4RQFm
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) February 24, 2021
In a California Polytechnic University study, titled “Political Behavior of Sexual and Gender Minorities,” liberal arts and political science professor Royal G. Cravens III noted, “The majority of the literature reveals sexual minorities to be politically distinct from heterosexuals, in that sexual minorities are more ideologically liberal and, in the United States, more likely to support Democratic partisans.”
“Largely because of heterosexism, sexual and gender minorities are also more likely to participate in political activities that directly implicate their sexual orientation or gender identity,” he wrote.
In a Tuesday Facebook post, Rev. Franklin Graham issued a warning concerning the LGBT agenda.
“Have you heard of the Equality Act? The name might sound good, but it’s deceiving. It has nothing to do with equality. It’s just a smokescreen to force Americans to accept the LGBTQ agenda and it creates a lot of INEQUALITY for Christians and all people of faith. It punishes individuals and organizations that disagree based on their moral convictions,” Graham wrote.
“If passed into law, the Equality Act could prohibit religious organizations — Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim, all — and churches from hiring only like-minded people who believe what they believe.”
“The Equality Act would destroy women’s and girls’ sports in this country as we know it. It would allow biological males who choose to identify as females to compete for titles, scholarships, and recognition at all age levels,” Graham continued.
“The Equality Act would erase women’s privacy—in locker rooms, dressing rooms, homeless shelters, restrooms, and more.”
“God made us male and female, and that’s it. With some 6,000 years of human history, it has only been in the last few years that people have come up with all of these additional designations for gender identity.”