SAN DIEGO — The number of Americans self-identifying as LGBTQ+ is growing fast.
A Gallup poll found the number of Americans who feel comfortable coming out is at an all time high of 7.1%, which has doubled since its last measurement in 2012.
“Years and generations of activism is paying off,” said Fernando Z. Lopez Jr. “And that is huge progress for our community.”
They are the executive director of San Diego Pride and says some of that activism in the last decade is the Bostock ruling which makes it illegal for employers to fire someone because they are LGBTQ+.
“Now we are seeing more LGBTQ representation in elected office, across the media and all over the country. That progress means that folks feel safer to come out,” said Lopez Jr.
Evan Johnson with the San Diego non-profit, TransFamily Support Services says a key takeaway from the poll is continuing education on what to do with this information.
“While we're seeing these numbers rise of individuals who feel safe to come out, how do we make sure that society is continuing to also grow in order to best support individuals as they're coming out,” said Johnson, Community and Youth Programming Manager, TransFamily Support Services.
The Human Rights Campaign predicts this year is on pace for a record number of anti-LGBTQ+ pieces of legislation.
“We've seen some terrible, terrible pieces of legislation coming out of Texas and Florida that are attacking trans youth, healthcare providers and parents of transgender youth,” said Lopez Jr.
Johnson says that is why it’s important to continue to be visible.
“It just makes every aspect of our living feel like controversy when really we're just trying to live,” said Johnson.
The poll showed a huge generational gap.
For Baby Boomers, 2.6% identified as LGBTQ+.
Gen z'ers, people born between 1997 and 2012, by far lead the way in self-identifying as LGBTQ+.
Johnson says this is important when supporting policy changes that affect all generations.
“I think we are going to see a serious growth in older generations that start coming out later in life, because of things like insurance is no longer a concern, adoption rates are no longer a concern,” said Johnson.
Gallup predicts with this momentum , the proportion of LGBTQ+ Americans should exceed 10 percent in the near future.
“It's just, it's really exciting. We would have never thought of these things, unless somebody was able to be out and start that conversation,” said Johnson.
Gallup reports one in ten millennials and one in five Gen Z members identifying as LGBTQ+.
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