The number of lesbian, gay or bisexual people has doubled

The number of people who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual continues to rise. (Getty Pictures)

The number of people who openly identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) in the UK is at a high level, according to official figures.

Some 3.1% of the population identified as LGB in 2020, an increase from 2.7% the previous year, and almost double the percentage of 1.6% in 2014, when the research round began.

Estimates of sexual orientation are based on data from the Annual Population Survey (APS), which collects information on the sexual identity of people aged 16 and over, says the statement released by the Office. national statistics (ONS).

While the proportion of those who identify as heterosexual or heterosexual in 2020 remains high at 93.6%, there has been a downward trend in this group since 2014.

“It’s wonderful to see that more and more LGBTQ+ people can be themselves,” says Robbie de Santos, director of communications and external affairs at Stonewall, (he/him).

“It’s important to remember that the number of LGBTQ+ people hasn’t increased, but these statistics are an encouraging sign that people are freer to be themselves.”

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homosexual couple

Representations on our screens and in our culture – of drag race for It’s a sin – helps people better understand who they are, says Stonewall’s Robbie de Santos.

Men identifying as LGB increased from 1.9% to 3.4% between 2014 and 2020, while the proportion of women identifying as one of these sexual orientations increased from 1.4% to 2 .8% over the same period.

Young people (16-24) continue to be the most likely to identify as LGB in 2020 (8.0%), reflecting an upward trend for this age group since the start of the series , with 2.7% identifying as gay or lesbian, and 5.3% identifying as bisexual.

In the same year, women (1.6%) were more likely than men (0.9%) to identify as bisexual, but less likely to identify as gay or lesbian (1.1% compared to 2 .5%). These differences are more pronounced in younger age groups.

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Young couple.  (Getty Pictures)

There is still work to be done for the entire LGBTQ+ community to feel free to be themselves. (Getty Pictures)

Of those who identified as LGB in 2020, almost three-quarters (72.5%) had never been married or in a civil partnership, while just under a quarter were (23.7% ), which the ONS says “may reflect the younger age structure of the LGB population and that same-sex civil partnership legislation [2005 in the UK] and gay marriage [2014 in England, Wales and Scotland and 2020 in Northern Ireland] is relatively recent.

“Over the past decade, we’ve also seen an incredible increase in LGBTQ+ representation on our screens and in our culture – from drag race for It’s a sinadds Robbie de Santos. “Representation that normalizes being LGBTQ+ is important and often helps people better understand who they are.

“While there is still work to be done, these encouraging statistics indicate that the increased acceptance and visibility of our communities over the past two decades is enabling more people to feel free to be themselves.”

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Ibtisam Ahmed, Head of Policy and Research at the LGBT Foundation, echoes this: “This is a very encouraging development as it reflects how social attitudes towards sexual orientation and understandings of diverse identities are changing. increasingly accepted.

“At a time when we are also seeing an increase in targeted hate crimes and a legislative reluctance to protect LGBTQ+ communities and especially trans communities, we hope the ONS findings underscore how important it is for people to be able to share fully without judgment and with dignity.”

The ONS notes that while ‘sexual orientation’ is an umbrella term that encompasses ‘gender identity’, attraction and behavior, the APS question used to collect the statistics is designed to capture gender identity. It was not designed for specific or detailed studies of attraction or sexual behavior, “where more detailed questions and response categories might be more appropriate.”

“Gender identity,” he adds, has been identified as the component of sexual orientation most closely linked to experiences of disadvantage and discrimination.

In 2019 (the release of 2017 data), the terminology in the release changed from “gender identity” to “sexual orientation” to align with legislation (Equality Act 2010), but the Data source and methodology used to produce the estimates do not have and are consistent with previous years.

Separately, orientation can also be a romantic attraction, as well as a sexual one.

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