Is America becoming gayer?

gay-american-flagAbsolutely and it’s fantabulous, despite the efforts of a few legislators in Arizona, America is becoming more gay.  I teach statistics, I’m not a political scientists, a theologists, or a social worker.  I speak the language of inferences and an increasing gay population represents something wonderful.  Historical estimates of the gay population in the United States is that it is 2 to 10% of the U.S population so by virtue of that number there are more gay people  in the United States now than twenty years ago when the population was lower.  However, beyond simple population growth the number of people that identify themselves as gay is increasing faster than the population growth rate so what is causing that increase?  Is it a mix of Ellen on daytime and Modern Family on prime time?  Is it the popularity of the word fantabulous? While I acknowledge that these factors may be playing a role, the biggest reason for the increasing gay population in the United States is that attitudes are changing.  50 years ago it was socially unacceptable to be openly gay in the United States.  Forget about being denied service at the local diner you were taking your life in your hands by publicly displaying your sexuality.  However, as attitudes change more and more people are comfortable enough to publicly display their sexuality which moves us to an increasing population of gay people in the United States.  It would be naive to think that 50 years ago 2% of the population was gay but now it’s 10%, it would be equally naive to think that there are no gay people in Russia or Uganda, there are.  The problem is that in those places the “number” of gay people aren’t accurate because people are not comfortable acknowledging their homosexuality.  In the United States however, the the rising numbers indicate that more and more people are reaching that level of comfort to publicly acknowledge it.  It’s a fantabulous indicator that represents an increasingly more tolerant America.

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