Thursday, June 2, 2011

Interesting Things

I was listening to some talk radio yesterday, Michael Medved specifically. I had kind of forgotten how much I used to like listening to that stuff. I really miss the sports shows, but I do miss listening to Michael Medved, Hugh Hewitt, and Rush, among others.

Anyway, Medved was talking about a recent Gallup survey that asked what people estimated to be the percentage of gay people in the total population. Before I tell you or link you to anything, what's your guess? 25%? 10%? 5%?

And...
now...
for...
the...
results...

You can see the findings yourself here. I was really surprised at how high the estimates were. Americans estimate that 25% of the population is self-identified as homosexual. Really? 25%? 1 out of 4 people? I just couldn't believe that.

While in San Fran this past weekend, I actually thought a little bit about how openly liberal that city is, but if you're just walking the streets and seeing families and such, it looks pretty much like any other city. I don't remember seeing any obvious gay couples. For the most part, it was just your typical families like anywhere else. Not anything like the numbers that people are estimating.

One popular number that people throw out is 10%. Wrong. That figure was popularized by Alfred Kinsey who did his sex research mostly on prison populations, i.e. a skewed population to begin with. The figures I've heard based on actual research is more in the range of 3-5%, but there was actually a recent study that puts the figure at 1.4%. (For that info, go here for a Medved article about it. For the actual findings, go here.) What's also surprising is that this >2% figure is actually one that is supported by gay advocates (here for that reference).

So what are the implications? Well, it goes to show how loud the voice is that belongs to same-sex advocates for one. More loosely, it also illustrates the weight that they carry in bearing on public perception.

Also read this article recently by Jeff Jacoby. He talks about the ban on circumcision in San Francisco (here for that one). A lot of the reason behind that is the work done by a group who equates circumcision to female genital mutilation, which it is very clearly not at all related.

What's most interesting about that restriction is this fact: In a city wherein we find the largest voice advocating the rights of individuals who number less than 2% of the entire population, we also see a ban on a centuries (millennia, actually) old practice of religious ceremony that also affects a group that numbers less than 2% of the population, Jews. While calling the disagreeing portion of society bigoted for rejecting same-sex marriage, they project their own prejudices on a similarly sized population. Ironic.

7 comments:

Mary said...

Yes. very interesting.

Seth said...

The less than 2% statistic you are using refers to those who say they are gay but not bisexual or transgendered. Your study shows that those that self-identify as something other than heterosexual constitute a group much greater than 2%.

Silvs said...

Is that just a hunch, or do you actually have a source to back that claim? The majority of people who do, at some point, engage in same-sex relations usually revert back to heterosexual ways. In the links that I referred to, the 8.8 million Americans who claim to be homosexual or lesbian also includes those who claim bi-sexual status as well. And that number actually comes from the Williams Institute which is a friendly advocate to the homosexual crowd.

I'll need you to find a source to assert your counter before I take it seriously.

Seth said...

In the study you linked to http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr036.pdf they list in Table 13 that men 18 – 44 reported 1.7% gay, 1.1% bi and 0.2% other. That is 3% not including those that did not report. In Table 12 the women 18 – 44 reported 1.1% gay, 3.5% bi and 0.6% something else for a total of 5.2%.

Also in Table 16 your link refers to other studies the most recent being the NSSHB (National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior) study in 2009 that found that 6.8% of women and 7.8% of men identified as gay, bisexual or something else that was not heterosexual. The General Social Survey was lower.

Assuming that either 4% or 7% was accurate, those numbers applied to the US population of 307 Million roughly indicate there are 12 to 21 million Americans that would self-identify as something other than heterosexual.

Silvs said...

Is that the "much more" that you were referring to? Although it is a 100-200% increase from the 2%, 4-7% does still seem a very small portion of the total population, and nowhere near the 25-35% estimated by many Americans. And that's a number that conflicts with what is given by the Williams Institute, so a closer look at their sampling methods is needed.

Also, I would add some caveats to those numbers. 18-44 is still only a sampling of the population, so that might not apply to the same degree as it would in the older population. Typically, the 18-44 age group is still pretty fluid in its own sexual identification, particularly the 18-25 crowd, which I'm only guessing represents the larger portion of that percentage of 4-7%. Typically, that number that expresses the equal attraction to both sexes, which is the largest of that sampling of numbers that you chose, is one that tends to thin out into one group or another as they age into their 30s and 40s.

However you spin it, it's still a small number. I guess the point remains, that even if it's a small number, it doesn't mean that we should discriminate against them anymore than we would against those that are Jewish or whatever group a person belongs to. My main point is that this is a group that still represents a small proportion of the total population and even with a pretty widespread acceptance of that community, one that continues to grow, it is probably at the high-end in terms of its self-identification expressed in numbers.

In spite of how oppressed that group continues to be, both their advocates and their own members exhibit the same kinds of tendencies to display prejudices of a similar nature against other small populations, so at what point does it stop? Where does the moral foundation stop and begin as to who deserves fair treatment?

Seth said...

I did mean that 4-7% is much more than under 2%. I find the survey's results of 25% ridiculous. I also do not like it when any group is oppressed no matter who is doing it. It seems even worse when a group that has been discriminated against turns around and does it to someone else. That being said, I don't know if I would say that when San Francisco does something it is the gays that are responsible. I think everyone deserves fair treatment and that that is is a great place to start finding a common moral ground between those who disagree.

Silvs said...

And I don't mean to say that because it is San Francisco that it means that only gay people are discriminating against Jews, but that is the city (gay and straight alike) that has found its voice speaking out against one oppressed people, but unfairly targeting another.