Warner Todd Huston
March 14, 2006
10% of Americans are gay -- urban myth explored
By Warner Todd Huston

We have all heard the well worn claim that "at least 10% of America is gay," haven't we? This 10% statistic has been used by gay advocacy groups for decades leaving Americans to imagine that up to 20 million of their fellows might be gay. But is this number a truism or propaganda from the gay lobby?


From whence did this 10% statistic come? In the 1940's and 1950's Alfred Kinsey did the field research for his widely touted series of reports on human sexual behavior, the Kinsey Reports. One of his "findings" was the famed 10% homosexual statistic supposedly realized by using his "Kinsey Scale" to measure sexual orientation.

Of course, when the reports were published in the 40's and 50's, they were quite controversial. After all it seemed to normalize and legitimize all manner of sexual practices. This can hardly be surprising when one realizes that Kinsey was known to advocate as well as participate in all manner of sexual practices himself, and it must be assumed that he was merely trying to legitimze his own actions with his research. This being as it may, his "research" is highly suspect for that and many other reasons.

But, if 10% of all Americans are, indeed, homosexual, then this sizable number of people would tend to make homosexuality seem far more "normal" than not. Hence the reason so many gay advocacy groups use this statistic to normalize their behavior. You might say there is "normalcy" in numbers.

Contradictory Reports

However, the reported statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the 200 Census show much, much lower figures than the famed 10% findings. And they aren't the only ones.

  • The CDC reported that a 2002 National Survey of Family Growth set the number closer to 2.8% of adults claiming homosexuality.

  • In 1993, USA Today reported that only 2.3% of males ages 20 to 30 said they had a same-sex experience in the last decade.

  • In 1991, the National Opinion Research Center found that respondents who claimed they were active homosexuals only numbered .7%.

  • As far back as 1988 a Canadian survey found that 98% of first-year college students under 25 indicated they were heterosexual.

  • And the 2000 Census found that only .42% of American households consisted of same sex, unmarried couples as heads of households. This is less than 1%.

One might claim that these numbes must be far lower than reality would dictate. After all, being homosexual is a societal taboo and it might be assumed that a large portion of those who truly are homosexual may not wish to admit such out of fear.

But, this claim just does not wash with the social acceptance that homosexuality has attained over the last 20 or so years. Except for small sections of the US, being gay carries little if any stigma that might force people who are homosexual from answering truthfully on these often ananymous surveys.

Gay Lobby Admits Overestimate

According to a piece on the Traditional Values Coalition's website, the gay lobby was forced to admit their overestimated claims of the 10% number.

    This admission took place in a Friend of the Court brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on March 26, 2003 in the Lawrence v. Texas, known as the Texas sodomy case. In this case, homosexuals are trying to have the Texas law against sodomy declared unconstitutional by the Court.

    In footnote 42 on page 16 of this legal brief, 31 homosexual and pro-homosexual groups admitted the following: "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% of the male, and 1.4% 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). This amounts to nearly 4 million openly gay men and 2 million women who identify as lesbian."

With this admission in hand we come to a question.

Is it "Normal" After all?

These two examples of statistics on mental disorders among Americans are instructive when considering "normalness."

The National Institute of Mental Health claims that 9.5% of the population suffers from depressive illnesses. That would translate to about 18 million Americans suffering from depression annually.

The website for the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry claims that around 6 million Americans over 65 suffer from various untreated mental disorders.

Now, if these numbers are to be believed, we are seeing numbers claiming that up to 20% of America's citizens are abnormal, having serious mental disorders. These numbers total more than 20 million Americans classified as abnormal, or sick by mental health professionals.

Now contrast these numbers with the claimed number of homosexuals in the US. Using these statistics, it would seem that people with mental disorders are far more numerous than those who claim homosexuality.

Granted homosexuality was removed from being classified as a mental disorder in 1973 due to the efforts of gay advocates, but it stretches credulity to believe 20 million Americans could be considered mentally ill and, therefore abnormal, while a mere 3 to 5 million homosexual Americans are to be considered "normal." Rather than assessing "normal" scientifically it appears that the mental health officials are driven by politics as opposed to science.

In any case, there you have it. The 10% statistic seems to be a myth instead of a reality. Instead of 20 some million Americans being homosexual we see that no more than 5 million could possibly be so. It's fairly hard to believe that homosexuality is "normal" if less than 5% of the population are such, isn't it?

(Dedicated to my friend "'lil Vikie" who should have stayed in her country of birth where sniveling is not unnatural.)

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

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