Is Gen Z Turning Gay?

A new Gallup poll indicates a doubling of the number of American adults who self-identify as LGBT or “something other than heterosexual” since 2012.  The results, based on aggregated 2021 data from interviews with more than 12,000 adults, also suggest unprecedented growth of this demographic among younger adults. In fact, the numbers show a doubling of non-straight identification for every generation from the Traditionalists (born before 1946), where 0.8% identified as LGBT+, to Gen Z (born 1997-2003), where fully 20.8% of that demographic define themselves as LGBT+. The numbers tell a story that suggests that, if current trends continue, the generation following Generation Z could see nearly half of their young adults identify as non-heterosexual within the next fifteen years.

According to the 2021 poll, here are the percentages who consider themselves non-heterosexual:

LGBT or “something other than heterosexual”

Generation Z (born 1997-2003)                   20.8%
Millennials (born 1981-1996)                       10.5%
Generation X (born 1965-1980)                   4.2%
Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964)                2.6
Traditionalists (born before 1946)             0.8%

Obviously, many factors are at play in contributing to the increase. One of which is the expansion of the parameters of the non-straight people group in the last twenty years to include transsexuals, bisexuals, asexuals, non-binaries (neither male nor female), to name a few. For example, President Bill Clinton first declared June to be “Gay and Lesbian Pride Month” in 1999. Each year, from 2009 to 2016, President Barack Obama proclaimed June to be LGBT Pride Month, now including bisexuals and transsexuals along with gays and lesbians in that month-long celebration. In 2021 President Joe Biden pronounced June LGBTQ+ Pride Month, expanding the group to now include queers, questioning, non-binaries (neither male nor female), and intersex individuals. Such a varied demographic and elastic definition of the term LGBT+ led comedian Dave Chapelle to label this group “the alphabet people” in his 2019 Netflix-special Sticks and Stones. 

Another factor worth exploring is the role of the immensely popular gaming platform Roblox in promoting LGBT+ lifestyles among youth. According to Roblox Statistics 2022, 25% of all players on the site are below the age of nine. Another 29% of Roblox users are between nine and twelve years old, meaning that 54% of the players on the site are under the age of twelve. According to Roblox, two-thirds of all U.S. kids between the ages of 9 and 12 use the gaming platform, and it’s played by a third of all Americans under the age of 16. Roblox also admits that the pandemic led to an increase in users, peaking at 120 million per month in mid-2020.

On July 31, 2020, the multiplayer Roblox online game Adopt Me! released its pride pins in the Hat Shop. The game revolves around adopting and caring for a variety of different types of pets that hatch from eggs. Adopt Me! groups pets into five classes based on rarity and cost. 

The pins were displayed on a wooden board and could be taken for free, with a maximum of one pride pin allowed to be taken every hour. Adopt Me! made four different types of pride pins available to its young users:

  • Ace Pride Pin, representing the asexual flag
  • Pan Pride Pin, representing the pansexual (who can be attracted to males, females, transgender, and non-binaries)
  • Enby Pride Pin, representing the non-binary flag (neither male nor female)
  • LGBT Pride Pin, representing the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual flag

To be clear, a nine-year-old could in theory place a Pan Pride Pin on her pet porcupine without even a thought of the long history of the term pan or its connections to Ancient Greek and Roman paganism. This child might a few hours later put another pin on her pet dragon, again with no awareness of the fact that in Ancient Rome the god Pan was a god of wanton lust, crudeness, and self-indulgence. She might then return the next day to add another Pan Pride Pin to her pet llama, again completely unaware that some scholars like T.P Wiseman, contend that Pan was one of the exalted gods of the Lupercalia springtime festival that involved cross-dressing and masquerading to stimulate sexual orgies and the sacrifice of goats or dogs (a practice that was prohibited after Constantine’s conversion to Christianity but by all accounts, continued nonetheless).

In another multiplayer game, Royale High, Pride Hair is given imaginative names that appeal to young girls:

Sherbert Hair: Lesbian Pride
Fairy Floss: Trans Pride
Rainbow Drop: Gay Pride
Blueberry Blossom: Trans Pride
Sunset Sweetheart: Bi Pride
Pure Imagination: Pan Pride

When I asked my daughter about the poll indicating 20% of Gen Z adults identify as LGBTQ+, she responded that the number sounded too low. In her fifth-grade class, she thinks the number is closer to 30%. This revelation of my daughter’s is even stranger when one considers that we live in a county that is overwhelmingly conservative and rural. Approximately 85% voted for Trump in our county in the last election. Church attendance on Sundays is high, and in the summertime, Vacation Bible School programs are plentiful, or at least they were before the pandemic.

The Gallup poll referenced in the beginning of this article indicates exponential growth of the LGBTQ+ demographic. If current trends continue, the doubling of the percentages could lead to 80% of the youngest demographic of American adults identifying as LGBTQ+ within thirty years. The cultural implications of such a shift are monumental. According to the data patterns, heterosexuals could be in the minority within thirty years. School bullying may occur but be shifted to those who are heterosexual. The implications in terms of societal stability and family dynamics are also far reaching.  

Anne-Christine Hoff is a professor of English at Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas. Her work has appeared in LifeSite News, American Thinker, Middle East Quarterly, and New English Review.

Image: Piqsels

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