Rise of LGBT as a Social and Political Identity

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search

* Report: Born This Way? The Rise of LGBT as a Social and Political Identity. by Eric Kaufmann. CSPI Report No. 6, May 30, 2022



Eric Kaufmann:

"there is an important political dimension to the rise. This report finds that much of the LGBT rise has occurred among very liberal or far left-wing young people. Is this because such people are more liberated, or because LGBT is now a kind of political identity? The evidence reviewed here indicates that an explicitly political motivation may be at work among whites and the university educated, but this is less likely to account for the rise in LGBT identity among young minorities and those without a college education.4 The data suggest that while progressives form the core of the movement, there has also been a liberal shift in the broader culture that has affected a wider range of people. This in turn raises the question of the political implications of the LGBT surge. If, as the data show, sexual orientation is highly correlated with political beliefs, then might we expect to see Democrats benefit from this shift in the future? This report suggests perhaps not, as the LGBT rise is taking place largely within the liberal voting bloc, limiting its potential to shift the partisan balance."

  • The author provides a high-point estimate of an 11-point increase in LGBT identity between 2008 and 2021 among Americans under 30. Of that, around 4 points can be explained by an increase in same-sex behavior. The majority of the increase in LGBT identity can be traced to how those who only engage in heterosexual behavior describe themselves.
  • Very liberal ideology is associated with identifying as LGBT among those with heterosexual behavior, especially women. It seems that an underlying psychological disposition is inclining people with heterosexual behavior to identify both as LGBT and very liberal. The most liberal respondents have moved from 10-15% non-heterosexual identification in 2016 to 33% in 2021. Other ideological groups are more stable.
  • Very liberal ideology and LGBT identification are associated with anxiety and depression in young people. Very liberal young Americans are twice as likely as others to experience these problems. 27% of young Americans with anxiety or depression were LGBT in 2021. This relationship appears to have strengthened since 2010.
  • Among young people, mental health problems, liberal ideology, and LGBT identity are strongly correlated. Using factor analysis in two different studies shows that assuming one common variable between all three traits explains 40-50% of the variation.
  • Because the rise in LGBT identity is so heavily concentrated on the political left, its influence on the balance of power between the two parties is likely to be limited.
  • College students majoring in the social sciences and humanities are about 10 points more LGBT than those in STEM. Meanwhile, 52% of students taking highly political majors such as race or gender studies identify as LGBT, compared to 25% among students overall.
  • Various data sources indicate that gender nonconformity – trans and non-binary identity – reached its peak in the last few years and has started to decline.
  • What kind of high school or college a young person attends poorly predicts their likelihood of identifying as LGBT. The one exception is Liberal Arts colleges, where 38% of students describe themselves in this way. This indicates that schooling might not have a large effect on changes in LGBT identity.

Overall, the data suggest that while there has been an increase in same-sex behavior in recent years, sociopolitical factors likely explain most of the rise in LGBT identity."