Gay-rights activists and organizations are standing up against the results of the first large-scale federal survey by National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) which attempted to measure sexual orientation in the United States. The July report released numbers claiming that that less than 3 percent of the population identifies as gay, lesbian or bisexual.
The survey was conducted through a series of in-person interviews in people’s homes. Interviewers took verbal responses and entered them into a laptop. On sexual orientation, they asked, “Which of the following best represents how you think of yourself?’’ Respondents were given the option, depending on their sex, to respond as gay or lesbian, straight, bisexual, “something else,” or “I don’t know the answer.”
Over the years many surveys that have tried to size up the gay population Gary Gates flawed survey through the Williams Institute stated that the number of people who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual is about 3.5 percent to 4 percent, with about half labeling themselves bisexual. Gates only purpose behind his research was to discredit Alfred Kinsey’s 1 in 10 number (10%) from 1942 whose data was collected from his respondents of who had had gay and lesbian experiences not what sexual preference they self identified as.
Recently in 2012 poll conducted by Canada’s Forum Research showed that 5% of the population self-identifies as LGBT.
The recent gross undercount of the LGB’s and the non-representation of the T community is upsetting for many organizations and activists because they worked for years to get sexual orientation added to the 57-year-old National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the government’s premier measure of Americans’ health statuses and behaviors and now fear that the results will reduce the urgency of their causes and give ammunition to hate groups such as the American Family Association, the Liberty Council and the Family Research Council.
Meanwhile the CDC National Health Interview Survey is defending its survey and methods but says that it is looking into why its results were so much lower than other similar polls.
Nut the he ugly truth, is that this count is ALREADY being used by the bigots to justify keeping marriage bans in place, to try and pass “religious” freedoms and to basically justify any and all forms of discrimination against us.
WE MUST fight harder than ever and one of our organizations MUST embark on their own survey with FLAWLESS methodology to recufy this gross under-representation,
3 thoughts on “LGBT Activist and Organizations Dispute Flawed Federal CDC’s LGB Population Count”
i am a retired UCLA professor and Director Emeritus of the UCLA LGBT center. We wanted to know how many LGB students lived in the residence halls. I didcovered that if I asked about behavior rather than labels, the data were very different. So instead of asking if one is lebian, gay, or bi, i’d ask if one were sexually active with or attracted to men, women, or both. The data were surprising. With labels, it was about 1%. With behaviors, it was almost 10%. (We weren’th gathering data on trans students back then.)
I understand the consternation here. But there are a couple of problems with the complaint. 1st: we should recognize that sheer numbers should not be important. Anti-gay groups think we are too small a minority to justify equality, even if they think our portion of the population is 10%. We must remember, and always remind those who oppose equality, that a minority’s rights must always be protected, no matter how big their portion of the population.
2nd: I find it disturbing that LGB people fight being identified with our sexual activities when anti-gay groups dismiss our orientations as nothing more than chosen behavior, but then, when we want to be counted, we want to count everybody who has ever had a same-sex fling. I can see that information is important, but understanding who self-identifies a particular way is also important – if for no other reason that it shows us how cultural homophobia still influence self-image. That said, we should remain clear on the fact that orientation does not equal behavior, nor does behavior equal orientation.
All this is to say that human sexuality is a complex question, and deriding a study because it is not simplistic in the way you wish it to be does nothing to actually help anybody. Can this study be improved? Most certainly. But exchanging one simplistic method for another is not helpful, because it lets those who oppose equality continue to control the conversation.
I am glad they are questioning this survey. When I first heard its results I said to myself “I question how they got to that figure, who and where did they survey people, what was the methodology. Ask people in their homes in person like that could cause some in the closet to answer that they are straight because they have a fear of outing themselves to the survey person that is just one issue I can think of that may have flawed the data.