A few times recently when I was having trouble writing, I scanned Ann Althouse’s blog, both because I enjoy her snark and in order to find some trenchant morsel to cut and paste into a post, linking her and providing fresh material for you. That diva does have a way with words.
Yesterday, she offered this catchy title to a post, “Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are” which included only this tidbit, “Surveys show a shockingly high fraction think a quarter of the country is gay or lesbian, when the reality is that it’s probably less than 2 percent.” Turns out that the words aren’t Althouse’s, but those of Garance Franke-Ruta, a senior editor at The Atlantic:
One in ten. It’s the name of the group that puts on the Reel Affirmations gay and lesbian film festival in Washington, D.C., each year. It’s the percent popularized by the Kinsey Report as the size of the gay male population. And it’s among the most common figures pointed to in popular culture as an estimate of how many people are gay or lesbian.
But what percentage of the population is actually gay or lesbian? With the debate over same-sex marriage again an emerging fault line in American political life, the answer comes as a surprise: A lower number than you might think — and a much, much, much lower one than most Americans believe.
“Such a misunderstanding of the basic demographics of sexual behavior and identity in America”, she adds, “has potentially profound implications for the acceptance of the gay-rights agenda.” Toward the end of the article, she offers that “gays aren’t the only minority population that has an outsized place in the public imagination.”
Speculating why that is could engenders some pretty stimulating discussions, leading perhaps to important insights on the nature of human sexuality.
Anyway, it’s a great piece and well worth your time. Great food for thought.