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Gay Population: estimated 3 - 10% 

Kinsey Report's (late 1940's) statistic revealing that a full 10% of the American population had experienced some form of personal exposure to "homosexuality." 

National Opinion Research Center (University of Chicago) revealed that 2% of men and 0.7% of women report "exclusive homosexual activity in the preceding year." 

The question arises, however: are statistics limited to respondents who classify themselves as "exclusively heterosexual" best suited to assess the full size of our community? What about those amongst us who shrink away from classifying themselves as "exclusively homosexual" because we don't want to acknowledge what "exclusivity" means in a homophobic society? 

By the numbers this is 1 in 10 to 1 in 33 people or by national and world population figures. 

USA - approx. 290 million = 29 million to 8.7 million 
World - Closing on 6 billion = 600 million to 180 million 

Students who describe themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered are five times more likely to miss school because of feeling unsafe. 28% are forced to drop out. --National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, "Anti-Gay/Lesbian Victimization," New York, 1984. 

  • The vast majority of victims of anti-lesbian/gay violence - possibly more than 80% - never report the incident, often due to fear of being "outed." --New York Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project Annual Report, 1996.
  • 85% of teachers oppose integrating lesbian, gay and bisexual themes in their curricula. --"Making Schools Safe for Gay and Lesbian Youth: Report of the Massachusetts Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth," 1993.
  • Due to sexual orientation discrimination, lesbians earn up to 14% less than their heterosexual female peers with similar jobs, education, age and residence, according to a study by the University of Maryland. --Badgett, M.V. Lee, "The Wage Effects of Sexual Orientation Discrimination," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, July 1995.
  • 42% of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. --Orion Center, Survey of Street Youth, Seattle, WA: Orion Center, 1986.
  • More than 84% of Americans oppose employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. --Survey Conducted by Newsweek, January 1997.
  • 75% of people committing hate crimes are under age 30 - one in three are under 18 - and some of the most pervasive anti-gay violence occurs in schools. --New York Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Report, 1996.
  • Lesbian, gay and bisexual youth are at a four times higher risk for suicide than their straight peers. --Gibson P., LCSW, "Gay Male and Lesbian Youth Suicide," Report of the Secretary's Task Force on Youth Suicide, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1989.
  • A survey of 191 employers revealed that 18% would fire, 27% would refuse to hire and 26% would refuse to promote a person they perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual. --Schatz and O'Hanlan, "Anti-Gay Discrimination in Medicine: Results of a National Survey of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Physicians," San Francisco, 1994.

National Organization for Women, 1000 16th Street, NW #700, Washington DC 20036, (202) 331-0066 

--Information compiled by Heath Harding