This is huge: Research says that less than half of teens identify as straight
Teens like The Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg are more open about their sexuality than any previous generation, according to a new survey of people aged 13 to 34. A report conducted by trend forecasting agency J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group found only 48% of those in Generation Z, which is identified as ages 13 to 20, identify as heterosexual, in contrast to 65% of millennials from ages 21 to 34. Put another way, nowadays less than half of teens identify as straight.
The survey asked participants to rate themselves on a scale from zero (completely straight) to six (completely homosexual), also known as the Kinsey scale. Over a third of Generation Z rated themselves somewhere between one and five — meaning they identify as bisexual to some degree — while only 24% of millennials identified as bisexual.
The teens surveyed rejected societal gender norms more frequently than millennials, with over a third believing that gender does not define identity as much as it once did. Comparatively, only 23% of millennials older than 27 agreed.
“We did a survey of Gen Z for a report released in May 2015 and found that 81% said that gender doesn’t define a person as much as it used to,” Shepherd Laughlin, the director of trend-spotting at J. Walter Thompson, told Broadly. “That was an intriguing statistic that got a lot of attention in the media, but we weren’t sure quite what it meant: Were they just saying, for example, that men or women could pursue any career they wanted to? Or did this reflect the more radical idea that gender itself isn’t as important to personal identity as it used to be, or that gender shouldn’t be seen as a binary? This new research shows that the latter idea is gaining significant traction among Gen Z-ers.”
Over half of Gen Z also noted that they knew someone who preferred gender pronouns like “they,” “them,” and “ze,” compared to 43% of millennials aged 28 to 34. Additionally, 44% purchased clothes only in their designated gender compared to 54% of millennials.
Although the survey questioned less than a thousand people, it seems to be evidence that society is growing more and more accepting of fluid gender roles and expression. We only hope that love and openness keeps on growing.