Post submitted by Beth Sherouse, former ACLS Public Fellow, HRC Senior Content Manager
Recent studies in the U.S. and the United Kingdom suggest that increasing numbers of young adults are identifying on the spectrum of sexual identity, somewhere between exclusively gay and exclusively straight.
A study from YouGov asked 1,000 respondents to identify their sexuality along a modified Kinsey Scale of sexuality, with zero being “completely heterosexual” and six being “completely homosexual.” Among Americans ages 18-29, 29 percent identified somewhere between zero and six, indicating at least some level of sexual attraction to more than one gender.
The study also showed that the proportion of respondents who identified with “varying degrees of bisexuality” was markedly lower among U.S. adults in older age brackets. While 24 percent of those between the ages of 30-44 put themselves somewhere between one to five on the Kinsey scale, only eight percent of those 45-64 and seven percent of those 65+ indicated the same.
A similar study in the United Kingdom found these trends to be even more pronounced, with 43 percent of those ages 18-24 placing themselves from one to five on the Kinsey scale.
These studies are significant in that they suggest a growing acknowledgement of and identification with sexual fluidity. Moreover, only 78 percent of Americans said they were exclusively heterosexual. That calls into question more conservative estimates about the overall size of the LGBTQ community, which have suggested that as few as 3.5 percent of Americans identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and only 11 percent admit some level of same-sex attraction.
For information on supporting bisexual youth, visit hrc.org/bi-youth/