More Americans now identify as LGBTQ+ than ever before

A new study has found that more Americans now identify as LGBTQ+ than they have ever before.

While we’ve seen an increase in the amount of celebrities who have come out LGBTQ+ and support from institutions when it comes to gender identity, we’re currently entering into uncertain times when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights and expression.

However, a new Gallup survey has revealed that more Americans are exploring their sexual and gender identities than in the past.

The survey sampled 1.6 million Americans and found that 4.1% now identified as LGBTQ+. Conducted over the space of five years, the survey found that each year more and more people were beginning to identify as queer, with Gallup suggesting that 10 million Americans now identify as LGBTQ+, up by 1.75 million from 2012.

According to the survey, the growth is down to millennials, whom Gallup classify as being born between 1980 and 1998, with those in that age bracket who identify as LGBTQ+ increasing from 5.8% to 7.3%. Meanwhile, figures remained relatively similar for those in Generation X (people born between 1965-1979), while the figure among baby boomers (those born between 1946-1964) actually fell by 0.3%. Essentially, while millennials account for around 32% of the general population, they accounted for 43% of LGBTQ+ identified adults.

Gallup also noted that more and more women were identifying as queer (an increase from 3.5% to 4.4%), while there was also the greatest rise among different racial and ethnic minorities, too. The large increase among ethnic and racial groups that aren’t white and non-Hispanic means that minorities now account for 40% of LGBTQ-identified adults, up by 7% from 2012.

While Gallup state that there is some research that “shows that direct assessments of same-sex sexual behavior or attraction yield very different (and often larger) population estimates when compared with estimates of LGBT self-identification,” they put the growth down to changes “differences in social climate” for those in their teens and for young adults.

"It's likely that millennials are the first generation in the U.S. to grow up in an environment where social acceptance of the LGBT community markedly increased," they state. "This may be an important factor in explaining their greater willingness to identify as LGBT. They may not have experienced the levels of discrimination and stigma experienced by their older counterparts. The perceived risks associated with publicly identifying as LGBT might also be lower in millennials than among other generations."

Given the current socio-political climate, it’s encouraging to see that more and more Americans are willing to see sexuality as a broad spectrum of possibilities, with an increase in the amount of people who are comfortable to self-identify with who they are.

Despite this, however, with legitimate threats to civil rights and divisive and hateful opinions becoming mainstream, it’s more important than ever for LGBTQ+ people to stand up and be proud.