Metro Weekly

Pew releases new data on LGBT attitudes, experiences

There may have been some awkward Father’s Day calls yesterday, as only 39 percent of gays and lesbians have told their fathers about their sexual orientation, according to a new survey of LGBT Americans from Pew Research Center. The numbers are somewhat better for mothers – 56 percent of gays have told their moms.

The study focused on “attitudes, experiences and values in changing times,” and shined a light on some of the more personal issues in the LGBT community. Four in 10 say that they’ve been rejected by a family member or close friend because of their sexual orientation, and three in 10 say they’ve been threatened or attacked because of it.

Pew’s latest findings also reveal some interesting data about the ages when people first thought they might be a gay or bi, first knew for sure, and first told someone. Gays generally reached these milestones younger than lesbians or bisexuals – first thinking they were gay at 10, knowing at 15, and telling someone at 18. By contrast, lesbians first thought they were gay at 13, first knew at 18, and first told someone at 21 on average.

Another interesting finding is that LGBT Americans tend to have a slightly higher education level than the general population. Fifty-seven percent of all U.S. adults have at least some college education, compared to 68 percent of LGBT Americans. 

Some other interesting findings from the study:

  • Only 7 percent of LGBT Americans say their sexual orientation is something negative in their life. Thirty-four percent think it’s positive, and 58 percent say it makes no difference.
  • Bisexuals are far less likely to say all or most of the important people in their lives knows they’re LGBT. Only 28 percent of bisexuals say the most important people know, compared to 71 percent of lesbians and 77 percent of gay men.
  • Those viewed as the most important figures in advancing LGBT rights: Barack Obama (23 percent), Ellen DeGeneres (18 percent), Anderson Cooper (3 percent), Hillary Clinton (3 percent), Barney Frank (2 percent), and Neil Patrick Harris (2 percent).
  • One-third of Americans say the nation is headed in the right direction, but that number soars to 55 percent among LGBT respondents.
  • As Americans await same-sex marriage decisions from the Supreme Court, 58 percent of LGBT Americans say they have a favorable view of SCOTUS, similar to the general public.
  • LGBT Americans say the Muslim religion, Mormon Church, Catholic Church and Evangelical churches are unfriendly to the LGBT community (84, 83, 79 and 73 percent, respectively).
  • And more than half (52 percent) have never attended a pride event. 

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