A Small Matter

I came across a statistic yesterday that really surprised me, so I asked my teenaged children about it, something I’d encourage you to do as well.

“What percentage of the British population self-identify as homosexual?”

Their answers ranged from 20% to 40%. Each of them know boys and girls who say they are lesbian or gay (LG) and each of them seem fairly comfortable with that fact, but none of them, when asked to count, could justify their assumption that 20-40% of their acquaintances were LG. Additionally, they were stunned when I shared the figure reported by the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS). Take a look at this excerpt from the ONS website.

Office of National Statistics

In 2015, the Annual Population Survey found 1.7% of adults in the UK identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB). This comprised:
• 1.1% who identified themselves as gay or lesbian
• 0.6% who identified themselves as bisexual

Consider the first bullet point. The actual number is nowhere near 40% or even 20%, and my children could not believe that only 1.1% of the UK population is homosexual, indicating a profound discrepancy amongst the young between the perception of homosexuality and the actual figures. My own little “survey” was admittedly a bit small to generalise for the population as a whole, but I don’t think my kids are out of touch with the sentiments held by their peers. I would be curious to hear what you find amongst your own family, so I’ll save comment on this important subject until I hear back from you. In the meantime, answer the survey and have a look at two follow-on reports below.

For further discussion of the ONS Report see:

The Guardian.com


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