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June 25, 2012


The Unbearable Straightness of Being

Mark Steyn is Mean again, over at NRO:

The Atlantic’s Garance Franke-Ruta observes that “Americans have no idea how few gay people there are“:

In 2002, a quarter of those surveyed guessed upwards of a quarter of Americans were gay or lesbian (or “homosexual,” the third option given). By 2011, that misperception had only grown, with more than a third of those surveyed now guessing that more than 25 percent of Americans are gay or lesbian. Women and young adults were most likely to provide high estimates, approximating that 30 percent of the population is gay. Overall, “U.S. adults, on average, estimate that 25 percent of Americans are gay or lesbian,” Gallup found. Only 4 percent of all those surveyed in 2011 and about 8 percent of those surveyed in 2002 correctly guessed that fewer than 5 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian.

Over at Powerline, John Hinderaker comments:

How on Earth can the average American believe that one-quarter of the men and women he sees every day are gay? Does that make any possible sense? Are one-quarter of your relatives gay, or your co-workers or neighbors? Of course not (unless you live in certain precincts of San Francisco). Glenn Reynolds’s explanation, perhaps tongue in cheek, was that there are so many gays on television, and I think that must be at least part of the answer. A vastly disproportionate number of characters in TV sitcoms and dramas are homosexual. A second and closely related factor is that homosexuality features disproportionately as a theme in movies, books and so on. It is an extraordinary instance of culture eclipsing reality.


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7 comments

You will find something similar if you ask Europeans what percentage of the US population is African-American.  They base this of course on all the TV shows we export.  A British survey on the subject which I read about 2003 centered on 25%.  My own experience in asking the question of visitors, while not statistically significant, is consistent with this.

[1] Posted by APB on 6-25-2012 at 08:36 AM · [top]

I’m guessing we get the same exaggeration if the question is “What proportion of the population are atheists?”

[2] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-25-2012 at 09:52 AM · [top]

“Women and young adults were most likely to provide high estimates, approximating that 30 percent of the population is gay.”

Ah, the prized voting demographics.

As CJ would say at MCJ, “I got nuthin’.”

[3] Posted by Timothy Fountain on 6-25-2012 at 10:22 AM · [top]

I suspect that part of what it means is that some large part of the American population is so innumerate that they have no idea what 25% actually means.

[4] Posted by C. Wingate on 6-25-2012 at 10:36 AM · [top]

C. Wingate wrote:

I suspect that part of what it means is that some large part of the American population is so innumerate that they have no idea what 25% actually means.

LOL! yep, you are probably right.

[5] Posted by SC blu cat lady on 6-25-2012 at 04:08 PM · [top]

I’m sure part of the problem is that blacks and homosexuals are concentrated disproportionately in bit cities on the coasts. A lot of liberals and foreigners have never set foot in “flyover country”, which tends to be straighter and whiter than the coastal cities.

[6] Posted by Roland on 7-1-2012 at 07:40 PM · [top]

thats odd. i dont know anyone who is gay!

[7] Posted by helpmelord on 7-2-2012 at 08:56 PM · [top]

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