Gay people count, so why not count them correctly?

Published: April 8, 2011

Back in the 1960s, pioneering gay activists found an obscure passage from a 1948 book written by prominent sex researcher Alfred Kinsey that read, “10 percent of the males are more or less exclusively homosexual . . . for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.” They used that quote to claim that 10 percent of the population was gay, even though Kinsey’s study was not designed to make a population-based estimate.

The motivation behind using the 10 percent figure was less about science and more about politics. In those days, gay activists needed to prove the very existence of a gay community. One in 10 was big enough to “matter.” It certainly mattered to me when, as a young, closeted gay man, I would look around a classroom with 50 people in it and think, “Wow, there are four other people here just like me.”

But the percentage was not so large as to overly threaten a society still extremely uncomfortable with the idea of gay people. The fact that the 1-in-10 figure still gets bandied about is a testament to the brilliance of this political strategy.

Full text of article available at link below –

Leave a Reply