According to a new study, U.S. adults estimate that 25 percent of Americans are gay or lesbian.
The study, conducted by Gallup from May 5 to 8 this year, found that 52 percent of Americans estimate that at least one in five Americans are gay or lesbian.
When the participants were asked what percentage of Americans today they believe are gay or lesbian, both men and women believe that about 25 percent are homosexual. And those with lower incomes, those less educated, women and young adults give the highest estimate.
Democrats and liberals are most likely to give higher estimates. Democrats say 28 percent of the U.S. population is gay or lesbian. Republicans, meanwhile, estimate the gay population is at 20 percent.
Gallup concluded, “Americans perceive that there is a large U.S. gay population – one far larger than is likely reality. Perhaps more informative than the exact figure Americans give is the trend that more Americans now than in 2002 feel they have enough information to offer an estimate. This suggests Americans have had even more exposure to gays and lesbians, be it in their personal lives or through entertainment or other means.”
The disparity between Americans’ perception of how large the gay community is and the actual count is large. A UCLA study in April found that only 3.5 percent of Americans are gay and 0.3 percent are transgender.
Gallup believes that part of the reason why most Americans think there are more lesbians and gays is because “Americans are now as accepting of gays and lesbians as at any point in the last three decades, if not in U.S. history.”
“If the trends continue and political leaders are responsive to public opinion on the issue, one would expect more states and the federal government to expand the legal rights of gays and lesbians, including the right to legally marry.”