The Simple Theory Of Why There Are So Many More LGBTQ+ People Now

People feel more safe, celebrated, and supported in their identities than ever before.

Four friends smiling and hugging each other with a pride flag Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

Amidst book bannings, insecure political chatter, and your grandma’s calls after a long day of watching the news, you’ve likely heard something negative about the mere existence of the LGBTQ+ community in the past year. Even experiencing a global pandemic can’t shift the watchful eye on queer communities from the mainstream, and people have picked up on an interesting trend.

Gallup studies from 2022 revealed over 7 percent of the United States population identifies as LGBTQ+ — more than double the percentage that was recorded less than a decade prior.


So, what’s changed over the past decade and why are people so hyper-focused on the “growth” of the community? 

The growth of the LGBTQ+ community can be explained by a cultural shift that promotes a more safe, celebrated, and supportive atmosphere for queer communities. 

One man theorized the reason for this rise in the LGBTQ+ community by comparing LGBTQ+ identification to the history of being left-handed in the United States. 



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“We used to treat people who were left-handed as satanic, as the devil,” the man stated. “That’s why there were a lot of people who didn’t record themselves as left-handed.”

To back up his point, the man pulled up a graph displaying the history of left-handedness in the United States.

graph depicting the history of left handednessPhoto: Slow Reveal Graphs


He explained that once we stopped demonizing left-handed people and forcing them to use their right hands, the stigma dissolved. In turn, there was a spike in the number of left-handed people, before it leveled off. The spike wasn’t because of “indoctrination,” but was the number of naturally occurring left-handed people who felt comfortable admitting it once it was less stigmatized in the 20th century.

The creator asserted that the same theory of stigmatization can be applied to the rise in LGBTQ+ people in recent years. Outside factors have made it safer for people to label themselves as part of the LGBTQ+ community, so of course the numbers are rising. 

“We are in a situation right now where it’s safer than ever for people to come out," he said. "If they’re queer, bisexual, or whatever it may be, they feel safer expressing that.” 

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Studies show that as Gen Z grows into adulthood, the amount of LGBTQ+ identifying people in the United States increases due to a more accepting culture. 

In 2022 alone, the percentage of people who identified as a part of the LGBTQ+ community rose to over 7 percent in the United States, an increase largely contributed to younger generations like Gen Z. While TikTok dances and growing up mid-pandemic are hallmarks of Gen Z’s legacy, their contributions to social causes, cultural shifts, and new-age problem-solving are not to be glossed over. A BBC study from 2022 illuminated the power of Gen Z’s socio-political involvement, sharing the wins of young people in advocating against issues like global warming, racial discrimination, and LGBTQ+ hate in the United States. 

Gen Z’s revolutionary social advocacy did more than disrupt the world through new protest tactics, mobilization efforts, and grassroots funding — they utilized the power of the internet and social media to their advantage. 

Not only is social media a tactic for social advocacy, but Gen Z has transformed it into a place for people to socialize, build community, and find resources to grow and learn. Whether it be Reddit, TikTok, or a group chat with internet friends, Gen Z  found a way to bolster their community and create an accepting place where they could be themselves.

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This re-imagination of the social media space and growth in the community is one large reason why we see LGBTQ+ identification rising, especially in Gen Z.

Pew Research findings from June 2023 revealed that over 17 percent of adults younger than 30 identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual compared to 8 percent for adults between 30 to 49, 5 percent of those 50 to 64, and 2 percent of those 65 and older. While much of this is due to the more accepting atmosphere, some of these low percentages in the older generations can be attributed to the AIDS epidemic, during which thousands of men and women, many in the LGBTQ+ community, lost their lives.

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Many Conservative leaders attribute the growth of the LGBTQ+ community to a 'corrupt' education system.

Unfortunately, alongside a rise in LGBTQ+ identification and community, a rise in hate has presented itself. Many conservative leaders have resurfaced doubts over same-sex legal protections and stirred hateful discourse over identity celebration in areas like education. 

Bans on gender identity and sexual orientation expression, educational resources, and protections for LGBTQ+ people in the workplace have ensured that the safety felt by many in the community is threatened. These bans and regulations are fueled by fear. Both homophobia and transphobia have grown in response to fears that a rise in the community will take up too much space. 

So, instead of worrying about issues that plague our world and the future of our children, many politicians and leaders are worried about tearing down the safety of a community defined by celebration, safety, and love. 


Legal safeguards, the ability to speak authentically, and an accepting culture and community are pillars of life that straight people often take for granted. In the classroom, LGBTQ+ students will continue to struggle to find community and see themselves represented in their teachers as more and more political narratives contribute to a rollback of queer protections. 

So, as Millennials and Generation Z continue to grow into adults and adopt more powerful positions within the world, we shouldn't be surprised to see a continued rise of LGBTQ+-identifying people. Let's just hope the hate doesn't rise with it.

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Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture analysis and human interest stories.