The Explosion In Queer Sexuality Among Kids Is Not A Natural Trend

The Explosion In Queer Sexuality Among Kids Is Not A Natural Trend

For young American women, it appears queer identity may just be the newest fashion trend they are eager to show off on social media.
Chad Felix Greene
By

A new Gallup poll published on Feb. 24 shows 1 in 6 Gen Z adults identify as LGBT. These results represent a remarkable jump from 2017, when 4.5 percent of Americans identified as LGBT, a number that has now risen to 5.6 percent just three years later.

The increase is indeed dramatic, yet it doesn’t fully tell the whole story. Why? While the population of Americans identifying as LGBT has risen steadily since 2012, last year the question was expanded from a simple “yes” or “no” to LGBT identity to include specific categories to choose from. Only one identity group showed a dramatic increase: bisexual women.

Of the 5.6 percent of all adults who identify as LGBT, 3.1 percent identify as bisexual, making up 54.6 percent of all LGBT adults. When broken down to the Gen Z age group (those aged 18 to 23), 11.5 percent identify as bisexual. In contrast, 5.1 percent of millennials and only 1.8 percent of Gen X identify as such. Across the board, all other categories, which include gay, lesbian, transgender, and others, remained steady.

Phillip Hammack, a psychology professor and director of the Sexual and Gender Diversity Laboratory at the University of California, Santa Cruz responded with excitement to the survey:

The rigid lines around gender and sexuality are just opening up for everybody … Young people are just doing it. … they’re leading this revolution, and they’re forcing scientists to take a closer look.

The data, however, doesn’t quite argue that point. Women are more likely to identify as LGBT than men, with 4.3 percent identifying as bisexual and only 1.8 percent of men identifying the same.

One in ten high school students identify as LGBT. Of these, 75 percent are female, and 77 percent identify as bisexual. As detailed by the Washington Post, the Williams Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles has found that 35 percent of LGBT adults are bisexual women.

Further, Hammack argues that his research shows young women are more likely to identify as “non-binary” or “gender-fluid.” The Gallup poll didn’t provide the option to identify gender identity separately from sexual orientation, but more Gen Z adults identified as transgender than as lesbian.

So why are young women exceedingly more likely to identify as neither gender and bisexual? The argument that today’s society is more accepting and readily allows people to be their true selves doesn’t account for this exclusive, targeted change in women.

Neither does the argument for a genetic or natural human biological component. The poll does not indicate a rise in LGBT Americans — it tells us gay and transgender numbers are stable and, yet, very suddenly, there has been an increase in bisexual women who reject female identity.

If the breakdown of celebrities who came out in 2020 is any indication, men overwhelmingly come out as gay while women tend to come out as bisexual, pansexual, or simply queer. In practice, bisexual identity, similar to non-binary and gender-fluid identity, may not require as big of a social change or commitment as being gay or transgender.

According to a Pew Research Center survey from Stanford University, nine in 10 bisexual people in a committed relationship are with someone of the opposite sex. This does not mean bisexuality is invalid as a sexual orientation or to suggest bisexual people are simply “going through a phase,” but identifying as bisexual doesn’t necessarily alter their lifestyle the way being gay or transgender would.

As Abigail Shrier discussed in great detail with in-depth research in her book, “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters,” the power of social contagion and peer group identity is important to consider:

Between 2016 and 2017, the number of gender surgeries for natal females in the US quadrupled; in the UK, the rates of gender dysphoria for teenage girls are up 4,400 percent over the previous decade.

Indeed, as 16-year-old Jasper Swartz — who identifies as non-binary — expressed to the Washington Post, all of her friends are “queer in some way.”

Rather than reflecting the natural progression of openness to human variation in sexuality and gender identity, it seems to better reflect a pop culture fad to be included in the LGBT spectrum in any way possible. This seems especially true for younger people, who are inundated with LGBT education, culture, and positivity and, as Abigail discusses in her book, find meaning in being different, unique, and rebellious, along with their friends. As indicated by the Gallup survey, as people age, their identities become more stable and bisexuality drops significantly.

Like non-binary and gender-fluid identities, bisexuality also offers an even more unique form of social oppression because both sides of the spectrum are suspicious of true identity. Jenny Granados-Villatoro, 18, told the Post that her parents struggle to understand her identity as bisexual and gender fluid.

She reported, “They always ask me, ‘do you think you’re going to end up marrying a woman or a man? If I were to have come out as lesbian it would have definitely been an easier concept for them to grasp.” Grey-area identities may offer more social clout and sense of rebellion and uniqueness than traditional gay or transgender identities, but with less dramatic personal changes.

For young women seeking identity and being part of a special or important group, all they have to do is cut their hair short, dress like a boy, and declare themselves non-binary or bisexual to gain instant victimhood status and self-validation. If it becomes too much and they still get the exciting thrill of being LGBT, they can always slip back into safer roles. For advocates of female identity and rights like Shrier, this can be a dangerous place to be:

Anxiety-ridden, middle-class girls who once engaged in cutting or anorexia were now wearing ‘binders’ (breast-compressing undergarments), taking testosterone and undergoing voluntary double mastectomies.

Layshia Clarendon, a non-binary lesbian who plays for the WNBA, shared her “top surgery” on social media:

It’s hard to put into words the feeling of seeing my chest for the first time free of breasts, seeing my chest the way I’ve always seen it, and feeling a sense of gender euphoria as opposed to gender dysphoria … Sighhhh … freedom … freedom at last.

For young women, queer identity can often mean hiding or even removing all aspects of natural female attributes, whereas young queer men are encouraged to decorate themselves and blend masculine and feminine traits in celebration of all gender expression.

While LGBT media and advocacy insist on projecting a narrative of anti-LGBT hatred oppressing vulnerable LGBT youth, the reality appears to be that LGBT identity is a highly desirable social status, a state of things both positive and negative. On the one hand, it demonstrates how far LGBT equality has come, but on the other, it diminishes and trivializes the experience of LGBT Americans.

Ultimately, for gay and transgender people, little has changed. For young women, however, queer identity may just be the newest fashion trend they are eager to show off on social media.

Chad Felix Greene is a senior contributor to The Federalist. He is the author of the "Reasonably Gay: Essays and Arguments" series and is a social writer focusing on truth in media, conservative ideas and goals, and true equality under the law. You can follow him on Twitter @chadfelixg.

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