5 Things You May Not Know About LGBTQ+ People

03.26.2024

If your child just came out and you’re just getting a handle on saying “LGBTQ+” out loud, then you know you have some learning to do. But even if you’re a little more familiar with the terms and concepts, there’s still a lot to find out and understand. Today, we’re going to talk about some surprising things you might not know about this community that is going to be very important in your child’s life.

1. About 7% of Americans are gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

The Pew Research Center did a survey of over twelve-thousand US adults in 2022 and found that the number of Americans identifying as LGB has risen significantly. For people under 30, the percentage came in at the historic high of 17% 1.

On a global scale, surveys of people in over 30 countries find that about 1 in 10 people identify as LGBTQ+. The number of people self-identifying as LGBTQ+ has consistently increased every year. This doesn’t mean that there are more LGBTQ+ people than there used to be, but that people feel more comfortable being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity.

2. More than 4 in 10 adults personally know someone who is trans

While a small percentage of US adults (1.7%) reported being trans, about 44% of adults in the US know someone who identifies as transgender. And 26% of adults know someone who uses the pronouns “they, them,” up from 18% as recently as 2018 1.

3. It wasn’t until 1973 that the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality as an “illness”classification in their official diagnostic manual.

It’s easy to get discouraged by the current climate around LGBTQ+ people, some days it seems like it’s just getting worse every day for our loved ones. But it’s important to remember that change can be slow, and it was only fifty years ago that the APA first recognized that being gay is part of the normal expression of human sexuality. Not only that, but it wasn’t until 2012, just 12 years ago, that the APA stopped listing being transgender as a mental disorder. These kinds of changes happen because of the courageous LGBTQ+ people and their allies who dare to speak out and stand up for what’s right, often in the face of great personal risk.

4. LGBTQ+ people have been around for thousands of years.

We have historical evidence that LGBTQ+ people have existed for millennia. Research suggests that the first gay couple on record were two Egyptian men from the year 2400 BC4. The way others treat LGBTQ+ community members changes depending on the culture and traditions, but LGBTQ+ people are not new. In some indigenous communities in Oaxaca, Mexico, for example, they have a special term for people who are biologically men but dress and act like women. “Muxes” are respected and accepted and have always been a part of these communities 3.

It’s important to understand this context because the media often portrays these issues as new. Anti-LGBTQ+ activists also use the increasing numbers of LGBTQ+ people as a way to try to convince people that LGBTQ+ people are trying to recruit or convert others and must be stopped. The simple truth is that more people identify this way because they feel safer and more comfortable doing so.

5. Approximately 30% of millennial Christians identify as LGBTQ+

The message that Christianity is at odds with being LGBTQ+ is prevalent, but is increasingly out-of-touch with reality. More and more Christian young people are coming out and taking an active role in defining what their faith means to them.

There are also more accepting and affirming churches than ever before, though we still have a long way to go.

Understanding the history and realities of LGBTQ+ people in the US and around the world is crucial to understanding your child and their struggles and victories. Share this blog article with your child and see if any of these facts surprised them.

Sources

  1. https://www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2023/06/23/5-key-findings-about-lgbtq-americans/
  2. https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/global-survey-finds-9-adults-identify-lgbtq-rcna87288
  3. https://ciencia.unam.mx/leer/925/los-muxes-el-tercer-genero-
  4. https://legacyprojectchicago.org/person/khnumhotep-and-niankhkhnum-aka-overseers-manicurists
  5. https://www.newsweek.com/nearly-40-percent-us-gen-zs-30-percent-christians-identify-lgbtq-poll-shows-1641085

Photo by Karina Thomson on Unsplash