Are a greater amount of GEN Z identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community than past generations, and why?
It is well known that about 10% of the population is part of the LGBTQ+ community, but how accurate is this statistic? A study conducted in 2021 suggested that within GEN Z, 15% of people identify as part of the community. However, when the Baby Boomer generation was asked, only 1.9% identified as lgbtq+. Is this a result of more of the younger generation being lgbtq+ or because of the difference in how society views lgbtq+ people?
Societies' views on lgbtq+ over time
Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964. During their early childhood, being gay was considered a crime and any people deemed to be gay would be arrested and punished, this was not changed until 1967. Although being gay was legalised, it was still not accepted within society. A turning point was 10 years ago, in 2013, when gay marriage was finally legalised. As a result of how being part of the lgbtq+ community was perceived it is understandable why the older generation have difficulty identifying themselves as part of the community.
Representation of lgbtq+ people in the media started in the 1990s. Shows such as Glee, Modern Family and people such as Elen DeGeneres allowed the lgbtq+ community to be seen, recognised and even idolised. Greater exposure to the lgbtq+ community normalises it within society allowing people to be more accepting. This may explain why more of the newer generation are happy to identify as part of this growing community.
What makes people LGBTQ+?
Past research has shown that sexual orientation is a result of both biological and environmental factors. These biological factors start before birth, however studies have shown that human DNA cannot predict sexual orientation and there is no single ‘gay gene’ or ‘straight gene’. Contrasting to this, a 2019 study found that genetic factors accounted for approximately a quarter of same-sex behaviour. A result of there being a biological reasoning behind sexuality, it may suggest that this is not the cause of more people identifying as lgbtq+. LGBTQ+ people have been recognised throughout time, specifically when looking at statues and other artefacts from ancient Rome. These artefacts clearly present homosexual relations between men, allowing us to believe that homosexuality has always been prevalent.
In summary, past research suggests that being lgbtq+ has become more accepted over time which has allowed the newer generation to identify as they freely choose. Past stigma and negative views of the community have affected how the older generation chooses to identify which may be an explanation for why so few Baby Boomers identify as lgbtq+.