Report claims a dramatic shift in millennials who identify as LGBTQ compared to other age groups

Report claims a dramatic shift in millennials who identify as LGBTQ compared to other age groups
People line the sidewalk during the Gay Pride march in New York. A new GLAAD report claims that 20 percent of millennials (ages 18-34) identify as LGBTQ. (Bryan R. Smith/AFP/Getty Images)

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, more commonly known as GLAAD, recently released a report that indicates a dramatic difference between millennials who identify as LGBTQ and other age groups who identify as such.

The group’s third annual “Accelerating Acceptance” report states that 20 percent of millennials (ages 18-34) identify as LGBTQ compared to 7 percent of baby boomers (ages 52-71) who answer the same way. The total population who identifies as LGBTQ is 12 percent, the study claims.

“As acceptance has grown in this country, so too has the number of young people who describe themselves as LGBTQ,” the report says.

Remarking on President Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, which it calls “unexpected,” the report adds:

In the face of this new political reality, GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance 2017 survey reveals a remarkable new era of understanding and acceptance among young people who increasingly reject traditional labels like “gay/straight” and “man/woman,” and instead talk about themselves in words that are beyond the binary — they are, in essence, igniting an identity revolution.

The study, conducted by the Harris Poll, also compares those who define themselves as “cisgendered,” or the same gender they were assigned at birth, to those who say they are non-cisgendered, or transgendered. According to the report, 12 percent of millennials identify as non-cisgendered, indicating they do not identify as the same gender they were assigned at birth, but only 3 percent of baby boomers and 6 percent of Generation X (ages 35-51) identified as non-cisgendered.

The report lists categories of sexual identity and gender identity by age group. Sexual identities include categories such as “asexual” and “pansexual,” which is defined as someone who is attracted to any gender or sex, regardless of whether they are male, female, transgendered, or gay. The report’s gender identities include labels such as “gender fluid” and “genderqueer,” which includes having no gender or having two or more genders.

“While older generations of LGBTQ people (people ages 35+) largely use the words ‘gay’ and ‘lesbian’ and/or ‘man’ and ‘woman’ to describe their sexual orientation and gender identity respectively, Millennials (people ages 18-34) appear more likely to identify in terminology that falls outside those previously traditional binaries,” the report says.

According to the study, 84 percent of millennials are strictly heterosexual, compared to 91 percent of Generation X and 94 percent of baby boomers.

In summary, GLAAD reports positive changes in their movement, saying acceptance has reached “historic” levels and praising what they call an “identity revolution:”

GLAAD’s Accelerating Acceptance 2017 survey shows acceptance of LGBTQ people has reached historic levels, particularly among Millennials. Perhaps because acceptance is more common than ever before, young people are now more likely to openly identify as LGBTQ while also rejecting traditional labels and seeing the world in terms that are beyond a binary. This “identity revolution” likely spurred by increased cultural understanding and acceptance also indicates that many young people today feel freer to be themselves and thus likely to lead happier lives.

Citing that nearly one-third of Americans feel uncomfortable with LGBTQ acquaintances, GLAAD stated that they still have work to do.

“GLAAD will remain on the front lines in the fight for full acceptance — building on the organization’s 30-year legacy of leveraging the power of the media to change hearts and minds until all LGBTQ people can live the life they love,” the report concludes.

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