health, emotional and mental well-being, legal protections, and issues like coping with prejudice. Increasingly Visible Identities and Orientations Early in 2021, a Gallup poll produced results that few members of Generation Z (Gen Zs) would find surprising: a larger number of Americans identified as LGBTQIA than ever before. In total, 5.6 percent of the adult population identified as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, or questioning (compared with 3.5 percent in the polling company’s first such survey in 2012). Among Americans who said they were LGBTQIA, a littlemore than half identified as bisexual. An additional 36.2 percent of those who identified as LGBTQIA described themselves as gay or lesbian. Just over 11 percent of the LGBTQIA respondents identified themselves as transgender. A separate set of surveys conducted by the Williams Institute indicated that there are around onemillion people in the United States who identify as nonbinary. The younger the respondent, the more likely they were to identify as something other than cisgender and straight. While only about 2 percent of baby boomers said they were LGBTQIA, 16 percent of people, or nearly one in six, between the ages of 18 and 23 did. We’re not in a place to comment with any certainty on why this is true. Some people think that previous generations were more afraid of backlash, and thus were more likely to stay closeted and hide these parts of their identities. Others theorize that a lack of open discussion and information meant that many people never had a chance to fully explore their own identities and attractions. Chances are that both of these are factors. But, in the end, the why doesn’t matter. We are who we are. That deserves space, acceptance, and respect.
Introduction: Gender Identity and Sexual Expression
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