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Q: Incidence of male homosexuality ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   5 Comments )
Subject: Incidence of male homosexuality
Category: Relationships and Society > Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual
Asked by: amsterdam-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 22 Feb 2005 06:20 PST
Expires: 24 Mar 2005 06:20 PST
Question ID: 478685
What is the percentage of the adult male population in the United
States that is homosexual?  I know that past data varies, but what is
the best current estimate that is supported by the best experts and
data on this subject?
Subject: Re: Incidence of male homosexuality
Answered By: techtor-ga on 23 Mar 2005 22:28 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
I've looked around the Internet for any word on what the best estimate
on the male homosexual population in the US could be, and the 3-5% of
Dancingbear may be the right estimate, as this website I found says:

Facts About Homosexuality and Mental Health
"All surveys are likely to underestimate the actual prevalence of
homosexuality because, fearing discrimination and stigma, many gay
respondents are reluctant to tell a stranger (even anonymously) that
they are homosexual. Recognizing this limitation, most research with
probability samples suggests that at least 3-6% of the US adult male
population is homosexual, with somewhat fewer females (Fay, Turner,
Klassen, & Gagnon, 1989; Hatfield, 1989; Laumann, Gagnon, Michael, &
Michaels, 1994; Lever & Kanouse, 1996; Rogers & Turner, 1991)."

There are other website showing statistics that differ slightly, but I
believe they lend support to the above estimate:

?Gay marriage? and homosexuality: some medical comments:
"In a US study, the prevalence of homosexuality was estimated to be
2.1% of men and 1.5% of women. (Gilman SE. Am J Public Health. 2001;
91: 933-9.)"

Exposing the Myths By Brendan Murray
- According to this piece, 10%, which is the Kinsey report's estimate,
may be too high a number to claim for the true homosexual number,
because the sample Kinsey used in his study may be inadequate. Thus a
lower number may be more likely. And 10% are gay is a myth.
In addition it says, "So if these incongruities discredit Kinsey's 10%
figure, what's the real truth? It would appear that one to two percent
is the actual proportion of homosexual men in a given population, as
demonstrated by two recent studies. First, David Forman, senior staff
member at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, authored a study in England
and Wales between 1984 and 1987 which determined that only 1.7% of his
sample had engaged in homosexual intercourse (British Medical Journal
298: 1137-1142, 1989). Second, sexual behavior researcher, Tom Smith
of the University of Chicago authored a study two years ago entitled
"Adult Sexual Behavior in 1989: Number of Partners Frequency and
Risk." His study resulted in a figure of "less than 1% exclusively

The Nature of Sexual Orientation
- "...estimate is that 6% of adult males are exclusively homosexually-oriented..."

There are other webpages showing results, but I believe they all lend
support to the 3-6% estimate.

Google Search terms used:
adult male population homosexual united states

I hope this has been a helpful answer. If you need something
clarified, or have a problem with the answer, do please post a Request
for Clarification before rating and I'll come back to you as soon as I
can. Thank you.
amsterdam-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars
With the implications to same sex marriage and to social security
benefits and to even sexually transmitted diseases - with the
implications to gays in the military, incidence of hate crimes, and
sexual orientation discrimination - with the implications to medical
and psychological practice, it seems incongruous that research can mot
discover the incidence of homosexuality in the population within an
order of magnitude (somewhere between 1% and 10%).  Certainly with all
the censuses, polling and opinion surveys so prevalent in our society,
we could have a better fix on the sexual orientation of our

Subject: Re: Incidence of male homosexuality
From: dancingbear-ga on 22 Feb 2005 10:46 PST
I always knew that expalined who I am - thanks shockandawe!

To amsterdam- I will do a little digging to see what I can find on
current research numbers.  What I can tell you is that Kinsey's
research initially said as high as 10%. This was later challenged as
his research methodology and was scrutinised as to not be
statistically valid.  I believe that current thinking is around 3-5%. 
What makes this difficult to measure is what part of the spectrum of
human sexuality are seeking to measure?  What Kinsey did discover is
that a pure homosexual was much rarer than someone who was mostly
homosexual but had some heterosexual tendnecies- and vice versa.  This
part of his research is not in dispute and has been supported by other
researchers since Kinsey's work.
Subject: Re: Incidence of male homosexuality
From: dancingbear-ga on 22 Feb 2005 11:36 PST

I discovered the 2000 census results with the data broken down into
percentages of the total US population based on cnesus data or other
accepted population percentages  For gay men the the percentage was
listed at 0.70%- roughyl 2,000,000 gay men for the 200 census.  next
to this category was a reference that I have copied below.  i hope
this answers you question.

" 1.51% of total U.S. population identifies themselves as gay, lesbian
or bisexual, or 4.3 total million Americans. 2.8% of males age 18 or
older, and 1.4% of females age 18 or older divided by 284,800,000
total population (2003 figures). 0.9% of women identify themselves as
lesbians (excluding bisexuals), which equates to 0.32% of total U.S.
population being lesbians. 2 percent of men identify themselves as gay
(excluding bisexuals), which equates to 0.7% of total U.S. population
being gay men. Source: National study published in Laumann, et al.,
The Social Organization of Sex: Sexual Practices in the United States
(1994), cited in Amicus Curiae in support of petitioners. Lawrence and
Garner v. State of Texas, No. 02-102 (U.S. March 26, 2003), pg. 16.
This friend of the court brief was filed by a coalition of leading
pro-GLBT activist groups, including: Human Rights Campaign, National
Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians
and Gays (PFLAG), National Center for Lesbian Rights, Gay and Lesbian
Advocates and Defenders (GLAAD), Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation, Pride At Work AFL-CIO, People For the American Way
Foundation, Anti-Defamation League, Mexican American Legal Defense and
Education Fund, Soulforce, Stonewall Law Association of Greater
Houston, and others. See also: Peter Sprigg, 28 January 2004,
"Homosexual Groups Back Off From '10 Percent' Myth", InFocus (Family
Research Council), Issue No. 260; URL: From Sprigg:
A coalition of leading pro-homosexual activist groups has now admitted
in a legal brief that only "2.8 percent of the male, and 1.4 percent
of the female, population identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or
bisexual."... in an amicus curiae (or "friend of the court") brief
filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Lawrence v. Texas. In
the case, which was decided in June of 2003, homosexual activists
successfully sought to have a Texas law barring homosexual sodomy
declared unconstitutional. The brief was filed by a coalition of 31
pro-homosexual activist groups, including some of the leading national
organizations like the Human Rights Campaign; the National Gay and
Lesbian Task Force; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays
(PFLAG); the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); and
the People for the American Way Foundation. The unusually candid
statement about the relatively low number of homosexuals in the
population appeared on page 16 of the brief. The text contains the
assertion, "There are approximately six million openly gay men and
women in the United States, and 450,000 gay men and lesbians in
Texas." After the national figure there appears a footnote, number 42
in the brief. The actual footnote at the bottom of the page reads as
follows (in its entirety): "The most widely accepted study of sexual
practices in the United States is the National Health and Social Life
Survey (NHSLS). The NHSLS found that 2.8 percent of the male, and 1.4
percent of the female, population identify themselves as gay, lesbian,
or bisexual. See Laumann, et al., The Social Organization of Sex:
Sexual Practices in the United States (1994)..." Unfortunately,
despite their candor about the small percentage of the population that
is homosexual, the authors of the brief still managed to overestimate
the actual number of "openly gay men and women" by more than a third.
That's because the figures of "4 million openly gay men and 2 million
women who identify as lesbian" were apparently arrived at by
multiplying the 2.8 percent and 1.4 percent figures by the total
number of males and females in the U.S. population. Yet it hardly
seems reasonable to count any of the 60 million Americans who are
fourteen years old or younger (and particularly the 40 million who are
nine or younger) as "openly gay men and women." If one applies the
percentage figures from the NHSLS instead to only the population of
men and women 18 years old or more, one arrives at an estimate that
perhaps 4.3 million Americans (2.8 million men and 1.5 million women)
identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual. It is important as well
to note that the "bisexual" component in that is fairly high. In fact,
the percentage of the population that identifies exclusively as
homosexual (not bisexual) is only 2 percent for men and 0.9 percent
for women, or about 2 million men and slightly less than a million
women. And even an exclusive homosexual self-identification is not
always matched by similarly exclusive behavior. The NHSLS found that
only 0.9 percent of men and 0.4 percent of women reported having only
same-sex sexual partners since age 18, a figure that would represent a
total of only about 1.4 million Americans (men and women combined). In
fact, the book on the NHSLS that was cited in the homosexual groups'
brief refers as well to "the myth of 10 percent," noting that it was
probably drawn from part of the research of Alfred Kinsey. However,
even Kinsey actually concluded that only "4 percent of the white males
are exclusively homosexual throughout their lives." And the book by
Laumann et al. notes that Kinsey used research methods that "would all
tend to bias Kinsey's results toward higher estimates of homosexuality
(and other rarer sexual practices) than those he would have obtained
using probability sampling." [Two key reasons: Kinsey's research was
conducted exclusively with males, which has a higher rates of
homosexuality and bisexuality, and Kinsey's research was conducted
predominantly within prison populations.] The Laumann book also
mentions in a footnote that "Bruce Voeller (1990) claims to have
originated the 10 percent estimate as part of the modern gay rights
movement's campaign in the late 1970s to convince politicians and the
public that 'We [gays and lesbians] Are Everywhere.' At the time,
Voeller was the chair of the National Gay Task Force"--forerunner to
one of the groups represented by the recent brief.
Previously, combining multiple sources, Schmidt arrived calculated
that 1.8% of the U.S. population is gay or lesbian. Schmidt, Thomas E.
Straight & Narrow: Compassion & Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate.
Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press (1995), pg. 102-103.
[Original sources: P. Painton, "The Shrinking Ten Percent," Time,
April 26, 1993, pp. 27-29; P. Rogers, "How Many Gays Are There?"
Newsweek, February 15, 1993, pg. 46; A.C. Kinsey, W.B. Pomeroy & C.E.
Martin, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (Philadelphia: W. B.
Saunders, 1948); J. H. Court & J. G. Muir, eds., Kinsey, Sex and
Fraud: The Indoctrination of a People (Lafayette, La.: Huntington
House, 1990); T. W. Smith, "Adult Sexual Behavior in 1989: Number of
Partners, Frequency of Intercourse and Risk of AIDS," Planning
Perspectives 23 (May/June 1991): 102-7. See p. 104, table 2. Smith is
director of the General Social Survey Project at the NORC (University
of Chicago).]"
Subject: Re: Incidence of male homosexuality
From: dancingbear-ga on 22 Feb 2005 11:43 PST
I'm sorry - the correct number according to the break down is 2.8% of
the 18 and over male population.  The 0.7% i wrote before is of the
enitre US population.

Just a note to add from personal experience- these figures are age-ist
in that they assume sexuality does not count until you are 18. 
Nothing could be further from the truth- so a better adjusted total
number would include all males- since research does show that
sexuality is often clear from pre-school age and on.  It certainly was
in my case.

Also- my apologies for all my typos- I hope you can read thruogh the mistakes.
Subject: Re: Incidence of male homosexuality
From: dickm-ga on 23 Mar 2005 16:47 PST
The only sure answer is we don't know. From the general social survey
about 5%of M and 3% of F have had any homosexual experience, and 3%
and 2% in the "last year".About half are excliusively GL and about
half (more than generally known) are bisexual. The % goes up some if
activities like jacking off in a communal shower etc isincluded. 
Incidence of GLBY is higher among the under 30, because there is far
less stigma now than for earlier generations. About one third are
partnered, and about half the partnered admit it (official census
figures) GLBT is at least twice as acceptablew in large metro
areas,esp centralcities, than in rural small town America, as people
migrate to more tolerant areas. Since the self declared are only 1/5
of GLBT, the other come from the ranks of singles/roommates (1/3or so
of the total,oftenthe younger); from people living IN families, but
not the parents or kids (1/4 of the total) and finally from husbands
and wives, a low %, 1 to 1.5 but this adds up to 30% of the GLBT
population,mostly bi.  We also know from data on single parent
families and of divorced and widowed, that quite a few,esp M, now take
same sex partners, or become gay or bi later in life.
Subject: Re: Incidence of male homosexuality
From: bayareapsychguy-ga on 09 Aug 2005 10:28 PDT
I'm seeing a general trend on this page that concerns me.  Why is it
that so many of you seem to NEED for the percentage of homosexuality
to be low, or lower than some reports?  Is there, perhaps, an
unconscious form of homophobia lurking there?  Were this question
about the percentage of African Americans (estimated between 10 and
13%, by the way), I doubt so much research would have gone into your
posts, and there most certainly would have been a great deal of
apologetics involved.

Regardless of concerns and criticisms regarding Kinsey's research, the
incidence of homosexual orientation in humans will not be known in our
lifetimes.  Homophobia, whether overt or hidden, is still far too
strong to allow for accurate reporting of the numbers.  We can only
know that there are a great many "open" homosexuals in the world, and
that those number appear to be growing, regardless of the fact that
discriminatory laws abound, social stigma is still strong, the myth of
the homosexual child molester is still with us
and nearly all Middle Eastern countried either imprison or murder
homosexuals (

I would caution each of you, however, to be very careful about where
you get your numbers.  Someone on this page even posted a link to!  Now, what on earth possessed you to think that
you would obtain accurate information about homosexuality on a
Catholic web site?!  Would you turn to a neo-Nazi site to glean
information on African American intelligence?

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