Only 3.5 percent of U.S. adults are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), according to an April 2011 study conducted by the University of California, Los Angeles.
The report also found that only about 0.3 percent of American adults are transgender.
"Understanding the size of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population is a critical first step to informing a host of public policy and research topics,” wrote Gary J. Gates, the Williams Distinguished Scholar at UCLA School of Law.
Gates illustrates that LGBT make up roughly the entire population of New Jersey, which is America’s fourth smallest state according to land mass but the eleventh most populous state.
His findings were released by the Williams Institute, a UCLA-affiliated think tank that specializes in sexual orientation and gender identity studies.
Information for the research is based on two state-level and four national population-based surveys conducted between the years 2004-2009. The study also reveals the composition of the groups.
Slightly more than half of the LGBT population is bisexual , or 1.8 percent of the total U.S. population. Women are substantially more likely than men to be bisexuals.
Mixed Feelings About the Results
The LGBT community has largely been divided between those embracing the findings, and others expressing doubts. Critics say that some interviewees may have declined to reveal their homosexuality, arguing that there may be more gay individuals than the study indicates.
Even Gates admitted difficulties with maintaining accuracy, saying that “survey methods can affect the willingness of respondents to report stigmatizing identities and behaviors.”
In the past, gay advocacy groups rallied behind the “10 percent” figure, describing the gay male population as cited in the 1948 study of male inmates conducted by Alfred Kinsey.
Known for pioneering the systematic study of human sexuality, Kinsey wrote that one in ten men was “more or less, exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.”
Subsequent studies since the 1990s dispute these findings. But only recently have major LGBT advocates distanced themselves from Kinsey’s research.
“While I obviously can't verify the [UCLA] study firsthand, it reminds us that the notion that 5 percent...or more absurdly that 10 percent of the population is gay is simply false,” says Michael L. Brown, author of A Queer Thing Happened to America.
In his book, Brown describes how the once silent minority morphed into the major powerhouse that dominates pop-culture, news and politics on Capitol Hill today.
“The sad thing is that many Americans still believe the 10 percent myth, and the popular media often props up this myth with statements to that effect coming from characters on shows such as Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit,” Brown explained to The Christian Post.
“That being said, we know that a lot of young people today – especially girls – are experimenting more with bisexual experiences, but we can still be fairly confident that in the end, only a very small percentage will identify as lesbian.”
To view the original William’s Institute document in its entirety, go to: