A new poll shows a historic increase in the number of Americans who identify as LGBTQ
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A new Gallup poll found a significant increase in the number of Americans who identify as LGBT since the last time it conducted a similar poll in 2017.

The poll found that 5.6% of U.S. adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. That's a large increase from the 2017 poll that had the number at 4.5%.

"More than half of LGBT adults (54.6%) identify as bisexual. About a quarter (24.5%) say they are gay, with 11.7% identifying as lesbian and 11.3% as transgender. An additional 3.3% volunteer another non-heterosexual preference or term to describe their sexual orientation, such as queer or same-gender-loving," the poll says.



via Gallup


A big reason for the increase is the number of people in Generation Z who identify as LGBT. About one in six adult members of Generation Z (those aged 18 to 23 in 2020) consider themselves to be something other than exclusively heterosexual.

LGBT identification is lower in subsequent older generations, including 2% or less of Americans born before 1965 (aged 56 and older in 2020).

Percentage of Americans who identify as LGBT by generation:

Generation Z (born 1997-2002) 15.9

Millennials (born 1981-1996) 9.1

Generation X (born 1965-1980) 3.8

Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) 2.0

Traditionalists (born before 1946) 1.3

Seventy-two percent of Gen Zers who identify as LGBT say they are bisexual. This is a large increase over Millenials, of which about 50% of those who are LGBT identify as bisexual. In older generations, expressed bisexual preference is not significantly more common than expressed gay or lesbian preference.

Gallup editor Jeffrey Jones says these new poll numbers show that more Americans are feeling safe to express their LGBTQ+ identities.

"Younger people are growing up in an environment where being gay, lesbian, or bisexual is not as taboo as it was in the past," Jones told NBC News. "So they may just feel more comfortable telling an interviewer in a telephone survey how they describe themselves. In the past, people would maybe be more reluctant."

The increasing number of Americans who identify as LGBT shows the country is becoming a more tolerant place where people are freer to express their true selves.

It also shows that when children are raised in a more tolerant society, they grow up to be adults who are more likely to be themselves. The youngest members of Gen Z were entering their teenage years when gay marriage became legal.

Living in a world where LGBT people had greater freedoms and protections under the law has to have made a positive impact on their own journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

One wonders what the numbers would look like if older generations grew up in the same environment?

This new data from Gallup provides an even stronger reason for Congress to pass the Equality Act. With a growing number of people who identify as LGBT, the country needs stronger legislation to ban discrimination against people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to explicitly prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Democratic-controlled House is expected to vote on the bill this week and it has the support of President Biden.

"I urge Congress to swiftly pass this historic legislation," Biden wrote in a statement. "Every person should be treated with dignity and respect, and this bill represents a critical step toward ensuring that America lives up to our foundational values of equality and freedom for all."

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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