The 10-percent myth

Putting the statistical nail in Kinsey’s coffin:

More than 480,000 people or one per cent of the UK?s adult population regard themselves as gay or lesbian while a further 245,000 or 0.5 percent say they are bisexual, according a study published by the Office for National Statistics. The data has been collected by the new Integrated Household Survey (IHS), which is the largest social report ever produced for the ONS. The 450,000 individual respondents to the survey provided the biggest pool of UK social data after the national census, the statistics service said.

Despite having a) played in a band signed to a gay music label, and b) having a gay fan club, I have never subscribed to the myth that ten percent of the population is gay. First, because I don’t trust round numbers. Second, because of the thousands of people I’ve met over time, far fewer than 10 percent of them were not normally oriented despite the fact that I was acquainted with a lot more gay men and bisexual women than nearly anyone else I knew.

And, of course, no one could ever provide a credible citation. I’ve always assumed the correct number was around 2 percent, which appears to be more in line with the statistical reality. The fact is that gays tend to lead very troubled lives, not because of homophobia or the contempt of the normally-oriented as many would like to believe, but because abnormality of any kind is not easy. Gays do not deserve approval for their inclinations but neither do they merit contempt. I think the correct response to someone announcing they are gay is “I’m sorry”, not because homosexuality is hateful, but because it’s not an easy journey through life.

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