Growing Pride: America’s LGBTQ+ Identity Boom

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In recent years, the landscape of sexual orientation and gender identity in the United States has seen remarkable shifts. According to a recent Gallup survey, 7.6% of U.S. adults now identify as LGBTQ+, a significant increase from previous years. This growth, driven primarily by younger generations, reflects broader societal changes and increased acceptance.

Understanding the Numbers

Gallup’s data, gathered from over 12,000 interviews in 2023, paints a detailed picture of the evolving identity spectrum in America. The survey asked respondents to identify their sexual orientation and gender identity, with options including heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or other. The results were telling: 85.6% of adults identified as straight, 7.6% as LGBTQ+, and 6.8% chose not to respond.

Interestingly, bisexuality emerged as the most common LGBTQ+ identity, with 4.4% of U.S. adults and 57.3% of LGBTQ+ adults identifying as such. Gay and lesbian identities were next, each representing just over 1% of U.S. adults and roughly one in six LGBTQ+ individuals. Transgender people made up slightly less than 1% of the adult population, highlighting the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community.

Generational Differences

One of the most striking aspects of the Gallup survey is the generational disparity in LGBTQ+ identification. Younger generations, particularly Generation Z (ages 18-26) and millennials (ages 27-42), are far more likely to identify as LGBTQ+ compared to older generations. More than one in five Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ+, while nearly one in ten millennials do. In contrast, only 5% of Generation X, 2% of baby boomers, and 1% of the Silent Generation identify as LGBTQ+.

This generational shift underscores the growing acceptance and visibility of LGBTQ+ identities in modern society. As societal norms evolve, younger people feel more comfortable and supported in expressing their true selves.

The Gender Perspective

The Gallup survey also revealed notable differences in LGBTQ+ identification between men and women. Women are nearly twice as likely as men to identify as LGBTQ+ (8.5% vs. 4.7%). Among women, bisexuality is the most common identity, while men are equally likely to identify as bisexual or gay.

In younger generations, this trend is even more pronounced. Close to 30% of Gen Z women identify as LGBTQ+, compared to 10.6% of Gen Z men. Among millennials, 12.4% of women and 5.4% of men identify as LGBTQ+. These differences highlight how gender influences the ways individuals experience and express their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Why This Matters

The increase in LGBTQ+ identification has significant implications for public health, social policy, and community support systems. Public health practitioners, in particular, should take note of these trends for several reasons:

  1. Mental Health and Well-being: Understanding the unique challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals is crucial for providing effective mental health support. Higher rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are prevalent within this community, often due to stigma and discrimination.
  2. Healthcare Access and Equity: LGBTQ+ individuals often face barriers to healthcare access, including discrimination and lack of provider knowledge. As more people identify as LGBTQ+, ensuring equitable healthcare becomes increasingly important.
  3. Social Support Systems: Creating inclusive environments in schools, workplaces, and communities helps reduce stigma and promotes mental and emotional well-being. Public health initiatives can play a pivotal role in fostering these supportive environments.
  4. Policy and Advocacy: Data on LGBTQ+ identification can inform policies that protect and support LGBTQ+ individuals. This includes anti-discrimination laws, gender-affirming healthcare policies, and educational programs that promote acceptance and understanding.

Discussion Questions

  1. How do you think increased visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ+ identities in younger generations impact society as a whole?
  2. What steps can public health practitioners take to better support the mental and physical health of LGBTQ+ individuals?


The rise in LGBTQ+ identification in the U.S. is more than just a statistic; it’s a reflection of a society in transition. As younger generations lead the way in embracing diverse identities, the implications for public health, social policy, and community support are important. Recognizing and addressing the needs of the growing LGBTQ+ population is essential for building a more inclusive and equitable society.

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