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New Data Shows That 1 In 4 US High School Students Identify As LGBTQ+

New Data Shows That 1 In 4 US High School Students Identify As LGBTQ+

school bus with rainbow and trans flags

The numbers of LGBTQ+ people are up according to new data from the CDC.


The number of teenagers in the United States who identify as LGBQ+ is growing rapidly, according to data recently released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

A 2021 survey of over 17,000 high school students revealed that only around 75% of those asked identified as heterosexual.

Of the remainder, 3.2% identified as gay or lesbian, 11.9% identified as bisexual, and 9% are either questioning or identifying in another way. Female students were more likely than male students to list their sexuality as something other than heterosexual, and were five times as likely to identify as bisexual.

These numbers have shifted compared to data from 2017, which found 85.4% of students identified as heterosexual, 2.4% as gay or lesbian, 8% as bisexual, and 4.2% as unsure. It is worth noting that the wording of the question seems to have changed as well, allowing for “questioning” rather than just being uncertain.

Still, more teens are coming to terms with their sexuality at a young age — something bigots have already blamed on an “agenda” and some widespread conspiracy that has resulted in them attempting to ban books, stop any mention of LGBTQ+ people in schools, and campaign against LGBTQ+ inclusion in media.

The much more likely scenario is, of course, that increased acceptance among their families and peers, as well as the opportunity to learn about LGBTQ+ people from various sources, have created an environment where teens find more support in exploring their sexuality than shame.

Particularly of interest are the percentage breakdowns by state, almost all of which show heterosexual identification falling within 70-80%, with the exceptions of Utah (85%), North Dakota (81%), Nevada (67.8%), and South Carolina, where no survey results were released. This suggests that teenagers’ sexual orientation may not be as strongly influenced by their local political surroundings as some may have expected.

It’s worth noting that this particular survey did not appear to include gender identity, or to account for non-binary students. However, a 2017 CDC survey previously said that nearly 2% of high school students identified as trans at the time.

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