“Who’s gay? Social scientists have long known that the answers to this question are very different if you ask about self-identified sexual orientation, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior. Alfred Kinsey’s groundbreaking work on sex midway through the 20th century introduced the idea that 10% of the population was gay or lesbian, but rigorous subsequent analysis with national data put the true number closer to 2 or 3 percent.
But that was then. More recent data from Gallup suggest an explosion in the number of Americans who identify as LGBT, up to 7 percent. For Zoomers (Generation Z; anyone born between 1997 and 2012), a full 20% identify as LGBT. That’s a big jump.
The reasons for this shift are obviously complex and won’t be examined at length here. There’s no real way to prove or disprove any of the usual arguments. Instead, I’ll explore whether the sharp uptick in LGB identification corresponds to a shift in sexual behavior.”