The Grapevine

Millennials Are The 'Gayest Generation': 7% Of Young Adults Identify As LGBT

Lesbians
Millennials are considered the gayest generation now that a recent report has found that seven percent of them identify as LGBT. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Millennials may be branded as lazy, spoiled, entitled, self-centered, selfie-obsessed, and technology-dependent by the elder generations. But whether or not these stereotypes are true, there’s one thing about us millennials that’s fairly certain: We’re the most progressive and open-minded generation in America.

And it turns out, perhaps because of this mindset of tolerance, that millennials are the “gayest” generation. According to a new report from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), seven percent of U.S. adults aged 18 to 35 (millennials) identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). A previous study found that 3.5 percent of American adults identify as LGBT, meaning millennials are twice as likely to identify as gay compared to adults of all ages.

The same report outlined the attitudes among millennials when it comes to a variety of health topics — from their views on discrimination against women in the workplace, discrimination against gays, President Obama, contraceptive use, sex education, abortion, and sexual assault. As could be expected, a large number of millennials believe that proper sex education and contraception is the best way to prevent pregnancy (not abstinence); and a vast majority believe that LGBT individuals shouldn’t be discriminated against, and that workplace laws should protect them.

But the question remains as to why more millennials are identifying as gay. Is it because more of us are open, forthcoming, and confident about coming out in this day and age compared to past decades, when being gay was stigmatized and never spoken about? This is possibly the most solid answer, but demographers are still trying to pinpoint it.

A 2013 report carried out by economists from Ohio State University and Boston University found that previous, conventional public opinion surveys actually had consistently underreported the number of LGBT individuals in the American population. “We find substantial under-reporting of LGBT identity and behaviors as well as underreporting of anti-gay sentiment ...even under anonymous and very private conditions,” the researchers wrote. People were less likely to identify as LGBT if the survey wasn’t anonymous; but still, it has been difficult to get a clear estimate of what proportion of the population is, in some way, gay.

So it’s the millennials who are turning the page of history as we enter a more tolerant, progressive age. Perhaps, then, keep your millennial bashing to yourselves.

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