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Williams Institute study: More than eight million U.S. adults identify as gay, lesbian or bisexual

News release from Williams Institute:

NEW RESEARCH ANSWERS QUESTION: HOW MANY LGBT PEOPLE ARE THERE IN THE UNITED STATES?

WILLIAMS INSTITUTE’S ANALYSIS, BASED ON RESULTS FROM SIX SURVEYS, ESTIMATES LGBT POPULATION AT 9 MILLION AMERICANS

LOS ANGELES, CA – April 7, 2011 - The Williams Institute, a leading think tank dedicated to the field of sexual orientation and gender identity-related law and public policy, released new research that estimates the size of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the United States. Drawing on information from four recent national and two state-level population-based surveys, the analyses suggest that there are more than 8 million adults in the US who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual, comprising 3.5% of the adult population. There are also nearly 700,000 transgender individuals in the US. In total, the study suggests that approximately 9 million Americans - roughly the population of New Jersey - identify as LGBT. The study is available at http://www2.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute/pdf/How-many-people-are-LGBT-Final.pdf

Noted study author Dr. Gary J. Gates: “Last week, the Institute of Medicine at the National Academies released an analysis of LGBT health research calling for federal statistical agencies to quickly move toward LGBT inclusion in their data collection. The surveys highlighted in this report demonstrate the usefulness of sexual orientation and gender identity questions on large-scale national population-based surveys. Better data can provide the building blocks for critical information to understand the lives of the 9 million LGBT Americans who have been historically marginalized in both society and research.”

Among other findings from the study:

• Among adults who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, bisexuals comprise a slight majority (1.8% compared to 1.7% who identify as lesbian or gay).

• Women are substantially more likely than men to identify as bisexual.

• Estimates of those who report any lifetime same-sex sexual behavior and any same-sex sexual attraction are substantially higher than estimates of those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. An estimated 19 million Americans (8.2%) report that they have engaged in same-sex sexual behavior and nearly 25.6 million Americans (11%) acknowledge at least some same-sex sexual attraction.

The Williams Institute for Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy advances law and public policy through rigorous, independent research and scholarship, and disseminates its work through a variety of education programs and media to judges, legislators, lawyers, other policy makers, and the public. For more information, please visit www.law.ucla.edu/williamsinstitute.

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