by Debbie Hayton
Friday, 26
February 2021
Chart
15:03

LGBT: an elegy for the L and G

More and more young people claim not to be straight
by Debbie Hayton
Far from being a fringe movement London Pride attracted more than 1.5 million in 2019. Credit: Getty

The LGBT community is expanding. The Office of National Statistics found that the proportion of the UK population — aged 16 years and over — publicly identifying as lesbian, gay or bisexual increased from 1.5% to 2.0% between 2012 and 2017.

In a separate study of 15,349 American adults published this week, Gallup estimated that 5.6% now identify as LGBT. But drilling down into the data, an astonishing 15.9% of 18- to 24-year-olds were huddled under the LGBT rainbow. That is almost one in six, but this surge does not come from the L and the G. They are now a minority in their own community.

Credit: Gallup

Bisexuals dominate the figures, though Gallup also reports that the vast majority choose opposite sex partners, while transgender people push lesbians into fourth place. What is going on?

Times have changed since I grew up in the 1980s. Gay pride — once a political protest on the fringe of society — is now a mainstream carnival. In 2019, Pride in London estimated that over 1.5 million spectators watched 30,000 people parade from Langham Place to Whitehall.

The message to young people is clear from the colourful flags on show. Every LGBTQIA+ identity seems to have one. But the monochrome heterosexual flag — yes there is one! — sits alongside like a relic from the black and white era. Why be a boring cis-heteronormative supporter standing on the sidelines when you can identify into the party and be special?

That may explain why their elders, long since settled in our lives and our relationships, do not seem to feel the same way. Only 3.8% of my age group — Generation X — identified as LGBT. Maybe the need to identify into groups wanes with age? It appears that way to me. After gender reassignment I am certainly transgender, but there is much more to me than LGBT.

Will today’s youngsters grow out of these identities like we grew out of the fads and crazes of our youth? If they involve no more that friendships, a flag and maybe coloured hair (we did that too), maybe there is no harm? Hair dye does wash out.

But lurking within Gallup’s data, we find that 1.8% of 18 to 24s identified as transgender, almost ten times greater than those of us in our 40s and 50s. Will most of them desist in time? We do not know, but we know that some are changing their body in ways that cannot be reversed. Others appear to be locked into a perpetual conflict with a wider society that might pay lip service to gender identity but assesses us by our sex, nevertheless.

I worry that the ongoing impact on their physical, emotional and mental health may be profound. The forthcoming census in England and Wales will collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity. I only hope that the government goes beyond infographics, and uses it to help these young adults move on in life.

Join the discussion


To join the discussion, get the free daily email and read more articles like this, sign up.

It's simple, quick and free.

Sign me up
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
33 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
1 year ago

One of those is not like the others and the Ls and Gs, mostly the Gs, might want to keep an eye on the Ts. It’s pretty well accepted that a person’s orientation is an ingrained trait. The Ts are hostile to that idea, and that is potentially destabilizing to gay men.
Imagine a young boy realizing things about himself, and then imagine some adult suggesting that inside that young boy is a girl screaming to get out. Given current events, this is not hard at all to imagine. Instead of growing into a gay man, or straight man, that boy is now subject to medical experimentation, maybe even surgical intervention.
What adults do is not my business, but kids are another matter.

Last edited 1 year ago by Alex Lekas
Fred Bloggs
Fred Bloggs
1 year ago

Maybe some are becoming more willing to come out. Alongside that there is a big fanfare and extra special attention given to ‘trans’ youngsters. The pattern of attention, affirmation and resources around this, is a massive pull for unhappy, unbalanced teens. The unbalanced dimensions of their lives often have nothing to do with their gender or sexuality. And then the activists get to work and so the feedback loop goes around fuelled on yet more taxpayer money. And it seems that almost none of the funding is spent on anything that actually helps these individuals.

Jayne Lago
Jayne Lago
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Bloggs

I too think children should be protected until they are mature enough……and I don’t mean physically …..to make their own decisions. You are right, as with a good many issues today, the activists have the loudest voices and there is no one really challenging them. No matter which political party you are aligned with, politicians profiles, their suitability to social media fanatics and their woke credentials are more important. Where have all the people with grit gone? As for the rise in LGBT and others in recent years, perhaps life style choice is the reason after all.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jayne Lago
Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Bloggs

Children in the angst of puberty struggle to find themselves as the hormones surge. Trying to rationalize the flood of feelings they may very well decide they now must have become someone ‘special’, a trans person. “when you can identify into the party and be special” is a motivator. Experimentation with their sexuality is normal during the change. Sticking a finger in the eye of social norms during their rebellion can now be tolerated. We can hope they don’t get trapped by their choices. Most won’t.

Scott Carson
Scott Carson
1 year ago

As a rule I stay out of these discussions because the issues don’t really involve me personally, so I wouldn’t be arguing a point from a position of experience. However, I’ve long felt profoundly uncomfortable with the idea of allowing children to modify their bodies with hormones or surgery. I’ve also accepted that this feeling could just be the result of a blinkered 59 year old mind which doesn’t understand today’s youth, but when I read an article by a writer who has actually undergone gender reassignment herself voicing similar concerns to my own, it makes me wonder if perhaps I had a point after all.

Last edited 1 year ago by Scott Carson
Judy Johnson
Judy Johnson
1 year ago
Reply to  Scott Carson

Debbie Hayton is invariably worth listening to.
I also feel uncomfortable about children having irreversible treatment before the age at which they are allowed a tattoo!

steve eaton
steve eaton
1 year ago
Reply to  Scott Carson

I suggest that any one who is not sure what they believe on this subject should “Google” Joe Biden’s nominee for HHS secretary, one Dr Rachael Levine being questioned by Sen. Rand Paul. It might help you decide.

Judy Simpson
Judy Simpson
1 year ago
Reply to  steve eaton

The scary part is that Senator Rand’s questions are being couched as a transphobic rant. They seemed perfectly reasonable to me.

Walter Brigham
Walter Brigham
1 year ago
Reply to  Judy Simpson

Reason, we don’t need no stinkin’ reason. We have our alleged victimization and indignation.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
1 year ago

I think that at least part of the inflation is that one can claim to be ‘non-binary’ and get counted as ‘trans’ without actually changing anything – either medically, socially, the way you present, nothing. It’s a ‘cheap’ way of getting in the cool kids club.
It’s like the actresses that ‘come out’ as bi, get told they’re stunning and brave, and then carry on only dating men. It’s a PR stunt.
I’m reminded of a survey that asked college-aged men if they were entirely heterosexual. Some 70% said no, they weren’t. But then when asked the follow-up question of whether they’d ever been attracted to another man, they also said “No”. So what was their first answer about, other than a notion that it was what they were supposed to say?

Last edited 1 year ago by Sharon Overy
Eloise Burke
Eloise Burke
1 year ago
Reply to  Sharon Overy

I recall reading that 100% feminine and 100% masculine do not exist. Everybody is a mix. I guess I accept this, but applied to personality traits and interests, not to sexuality. Sixty-some years ago in college my all-female psychology class took a test which measured, among other things, “masculinity” and “femininity.” I was horrified to discover that I scored 18 out of 20 points on the “masculine” side. Protests broke out in the class, but Dr. Mundt said No, this was the way it was – there really was a measure of masculinity and femininity.
I do not know now why I was so upset. I certainly had no doubt whatsoever that I was a raging heterosexual – maybe youthful hormones made that unmistakable. Though now, in my 80’s, I find men more sexually appealing than ever.

David George
David George
1 year ago

“1.8% of 18 to 24s identified as transgender, almost ten times greater than those of us in our 40s and 50s”
Can you be a “trans” your whole life?
I guess it takes a few years to transition from one sex/gender to another so perhaps that’s what’s going on. More likely there’s a hell of a lot of “look at me” from a lot of very sad and silly young people.

Joseph Berger
Joseph Berger
1 year ago

Yet another propaganda piece that misuses an inaccurate term “sexual orientation” in an essay about a very serious problem of pandering to the latest teen fad of changing one’s sex.
There is no such thing as an “ingrained sexual orientation”, people spouting that are spouting scientific nonsense.
There is sexual preference, which for some people seems to have developed early and be unchangeable because the individual is ‘comfortable’ with their preference, and has no interest in exploring the possiblity of change through psychotherapy.
For many others same-sex prerference seems to arise in adolescence, and the reasons for it usually are very personal and individual.
And in a number of other people, they have been heterosexual, married, conceived or given birth to children, and then for very individual reasons decide that they ‘prefer’ to be with the same sex, while others who have for some years had same-sex relationships discover – often through exploring their issues in psychotherapy – that they actually become very comfortable in intimate long-term relationships with the opposite sex.
For all but troubed people with an agenda, so-called ‘transgender’ in an adult is today’s fashionable manifestation of being unhappy with oneself, and this is heightened in many teenagers who are often very confused about their sexuality and identity as it is.
Quite frankly, to any scietifically knowledgable and ethically responsible medical doctor, the notion of giving sexual-development-supressive hormones, or even worse, radical genital surgery, to teenagers is horrendous, is totally unacceptable.
Unfortunatey, such childrren are sometimes the children of quite disturbed parents, and most definitely some of them have won victories in courts where ignorant judges have allowed the tantrum-throwing suicide-threatening manipulative child to undergo such procedures.
Every few years in medicine there is a fad that some people think will solve their life’s problems, it may be a cancer or multiple sclerosis treatment – who wouldn’t want that? – but the so-called treatment is quackery. The idea of hormones and radical genital surgery for kids is today’s perversion of medicine and science.

Jayne Lago
Jayne Lago
1 year ago
Reply to  Joseph Berger

Excellent piece, and although I have no medical knowledge whatsoever I don’t think you have to have a phd to see that this is a fad. I believe this is the result of indoctrination by the activists which are currently pervading all areas of our life now. Many of which I believe are caught up in activism for activism’s sake. Crucially this situation has very serious consequences for the future of mankind……oh perhaps that should be personkind!

Fraser Bailey
Fraser Bailey
1 year ago

Well I think a lot of this is just young people ‘gender-signalling’ or whatever. The ones you have to watch out for are the LGB&Qs because they will come round to your house when you’re not there and make some excellent but rather effete home improvements.

Andrew Thompson
Andrew Thompson
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You’ll know when a gay burglar has been in your house because its all nice and tidy and there’s a good quiche in the oven

Last edited 1 year ago by Andrew Thompson
Kirsten Walstedt
Kirsten Walstedt
1 year ago
Reply to  Fraser Bailey

You’re glossing over the perils of gentrification, which will surely follow their entrance into your neighborhood.

Nick Whitehouse
Nick Whitehouse
1 year ago

Lets hope it is just the latest teenage fashion.

G Harris
G Harris
1 year ago

Without wishing to sound too old, when you’re younger your sexuality forms a far bigger part of who you think and feel you are not only because you’re ‘at your sexual peak’, so to speak, but also because of the sheer level of interaction you’re likely to have with people in a similar position.

Chuck in a greater likelihood of insecurity and you have the ingredients for what can be a rather unhelpful, in some cases inevitable obsession with what defines who you are both personally and in the eyes of others.

It’s not so much that people grow up and out of things, it’s really that priorities change as circumstances change so to commit to something when society deems you to be legally and mentally capable of deciding whether something elective and all but irreversible to your own body is a good idea or not is surely never quite the same thing as when you’re a young kid who apparently believes they were born in the wrong body and needs urgent invasive medical assistance in escaping it and yet still likely believes in Santa Claus.

Last edited 1 year ago by G Harris
ralph bell
ralph bell
1 year ago

On a amusing flip side of this data is that very few young people are engaging in much sex anyway, whatever their preferences.

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
1 year ago
Reply to  ralph bell

And that one of the new letters in the ever expanding alphabet soup that used to be the LGBT is Asexual. Because apparently they needed a movement to claim their rights?

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  ralph bell

Not so sure that onaism is a good way forward. The awkward youthful sexual experimentation leads to personal growth, even understanding oneself. Not so amusing, but quite sad.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
1 year ago

“I am certainly transgender, but there is much more to me than LGBT.” – Perhaps the greatest comment concerning the demographic identity of the individual ever made (just insert any demographic marker and the statement applies )

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
1 year ago

If I were any of the LGT part of the group I’d be both angry and nervous AF.
This movement is very likely going to go bad on all of them as well as women, as it is seeking to undermine the very nature of our own identity that we have fought and died to claim as far as being able to be considered fully human.
I have trans friends who have been hiding this out because it is making them feel they will be accountable for some very bad behavior on the part of this movement, especially as it impacts women, as my friends were lifelong lesbians before transitioning.
They keep asking, where is the voice of the majority of these new swelling numbers of trans people? Your know, the girls and women identifying as men. Why are they so mysteriously silent?
In the end it looks to a lot of us as though someone much higher up the ladder with a lot of money and a lot of power is encouraging these lost, depressed, scared, angry children to run us all off the cliff by demanding terrifying censorship laws and more government power over out lives.
I mean, what could possibly go wrong with that?
Oh, wait…

Karen Lindquist
Karen Lindquist
1 year ago

Andrew, I feel the same way about my punk/goth days in the 80’s. Who knew that it would morph into Emo and then trans?
I wouldn’t mind it quite as much if they weren’t such a pack of crybullies, demanding we censor free speech and burn books and such. And they love rules and government. Ugh.
I miss when rebels were rebellious.

Alan T
Alan T
1 year ago

Rebellion and transgression has become institutionalised.

Rob Nock
Rob Nock
1 year ago

What I still find odd is that to not be homophobic you have to be a supporter of homosexuality etc. Why?
I don’t think that drug taking, homosexuality, flagellation, DS etc are good traits but that does not mean that I think people should not be allowed to engage in them. People can do disgusting personal, private and consenting things but should still have the disgusted person’s support to do them if they want to.
Tolerance not respect is vital

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

What does being a supporter of homosexuality mean? How does one go about supporting homosexuality – or heterosexuality, for that matter? 

Micheal Lucken
Micheal Lucken
1 year ago
Reply to  Rob Nock

It is a bit of a conundrum. Respect our feelings but we will not respect or tolerate yours if they are not favourable to us. Are there any other forms of phobia which people might have that society at large condemns them for?

Aaron Kevali
Aaron Kevali
1 year ago

Ls and Gs live as separately as practical, trying to ignore each other. Ls and Gs mistrust and hold Bs in contempt. Ls, Gs, and Bs all hold Ts to be clowns at best and simply not in the same basket as them.

As for the massive growth of the Bs, all I can think of stupid teenage girls and young women who call themselves “bisexual” – yeah right! – who seem to date exclusively men. Sure, there might be “lesbian kiss” in their past, but so what? Among normal men, being “bi” is equivalent to being a homosexual. “Bi and gay men are normal too Aaron!” – whatever, don’t bother.

Truth is, there is cachet in being a perv these days, and so naturally people identify as one or give it a whirl because it’s fashionable. Yawn, most grown out of it.

As for trans, most of these are (again) women who back in the nineties would have been anorexics or self harmers- they fit the profile… to a T, as it where. As for male to female transsexuals, the vast majority are heterosexual, that is, they become lesbians after they transitioning (lol!). They are essentially men who fetishise women and have narcissistic tendencies, they seek to become what they are attracted to, also known as autogynephila. I can quite understand why Ls and Gs view this whole thing as a train wreck, I mean, where to begin?

Guglielmo Marinaro
Guglielmo Marinaro
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron Kevali

I can quite understand why Ls and Gs view this whole thing as a train wreck.

Which is what it is. Actually, that unnecessary and illogical “LGBT” initialism usually turns out to be simply code for T. Organizations which now describe themselves as LGBT are largely former gay/lesbian organizations which have been trans-jacked.

Alex Camm
Alex Camm
1 year ago

Isn’t this a decrease? From memory from a few years ago the largest national survey of @25000 put the figure of 2% lesbian, 4% gay which matched figures internationally available. I don’t think this measured other categories and was across all ages. If that is so then young people are less likely to be homosexual?

Colin Haller
Colin Haller
1 year ago

Maybe nobody will care about such things anymore and focus on the content of one’s character rather than aspects of one’s identity?