Friday, September 16, 2005

New government statistics on the number of gays

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According to an article on, the National Center for Health Statistics has completed a new study on sexuality. The study was done to help the government, mainly the Center for Disease Control, fight the spread of HIV. The study gives insight into how many gays are in America. According to the article:
In response to a question that asked, “Do you think of yourself as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, or something else?” 90 percent of men 18-44 years of age responded that they think of themselves as heterosexual, 2.3 percent of men answered homosexual, 1.8 percent bisexual, 3.9 percent “something else,” and 1.8 percent did not answer the question. The numbers for males are up slightly from a similar study by the NCHS in 1992. The study also found that more women, particularly those in their late teens and 20s, are experimenting with bisexuality or at least feel more comfortable reporting same-sex encounters. The study is based on 12,571 in-person interviews with men and women 15-44 years of age.
The article also points out that the statisitcs regarding homosexuals and bisexuals are still ower than the supposed 10% of America which is believed to be gay or bi. According to the article:
But, while the number of men and women identifying as gay or bi has increased, it is lower than the 10 percent of the population believed to be gay. Mark Shields, the director of the Coming Out Project at the Human Rights Campaign said that the study would appear to show that more people are willing to talk openly about their lives than they were a decade earlier. "I think its not necessarily the number of same-sex relationships that has gone up [but] it's the level of honesty that has increased around those relationships as stigma and social pressure around us continues to melt away," Shields told "I still suspect these [numbers] will continue to rise because there's a lot of people, because of the amount of social pressure that still exists, feel uncomfortable to identify themselves publicly.
The study also shows that gay men are more likely to use condoms in sexual encounters than are straight men:
Among males who had ever had sexual contact with another male, 91 percent used a condom at their last sex, compared with 36 percent of men who never had sex with another male.
======= Let's just face it... even if 10% of Americans are gay, les or bi, we will never get that number to show up on surveys or studies, no matter how much we tell the participants how confidential the survey or study will be. The fact is that some gay, les and bi people are so afraid of being so that they don't even admit it to themselves, much less a piece of paper. I think that Mark Shields has it right... the number has not gone up since 1992... more people are just more willing to openly talk about it and discuss it.