LGBT Activist and Organizations Dispute Flawed Federal CDC’s LGB Population Count

Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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3 Responses

  1. Ronno Sanlo says:

    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.)

  2. Nathaniel says:

    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.

  3. Seaguy says:

    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.

What do you think?