LGBT advocates continue to show alarm over the new numbers released from the Centers for Disease Control that show gays and lesbians make up no more than 1.6% of the adult population of the United States.
The adult population of the United States, according to the U.S. Census data, is no more than 240,000,000, which would make the total population of gays and lesbians in the United States roughly 3.8 million.
To give you a rough idea of what that means: Though sources differ, the Methodist Church estimates its membership at 7.7 million, or almost exactly twice the number of gays and lesbians. If this group were a state, it would be the size of Oklahoma. If it were a country – Bosnia. If it were a U.S. county – Maricopa County in Arizona, home to Phoenix. Compared to a moment in U.S. history, it is smaller than the total U.S. population in 1790.
These are not small numbers, but they are a remarkably distant cry from the 60-94 million that most Americans think is the homosexual population in America.
Bisexuals do much worse. According to the CDC they make up no more than .07% of the population, which is only 1.7 million adult Americans – roughly the size Gabon, ranked 151st out of 192 Member States of the UN.
Slate‘s Mark Joseph Stern has joined the battle surrounding the new and tiny numbers. He accuses conservatives of taking issue with them, saying, “conservatives really don’t like gay people… So it’s somewhat surprising to see the right throw a slow-burning tantrum about the fact that there aren’t more gay and bi people living in the United States.”
Stern recognizes the subtext of recent writings about the new numbers: gays would have less political power if Americans knew that they numbered 3.8 million rather than 94 million. Gays have considered numbers to be important; one of the ongoing memes of the LGBT movement is that they are everywhere.
According to the Washington Post reporter who broke the story on concerns within LGBT circles about the new numbers, gays have always been concerned about their numbers because numbers mean political power.
Stern counters, however, that numbers don’t matter when it comes to civil rights. Yet when it comes to LGBTs, do small numbers actually mean few civil rights?
Gerald Bradley, professor of law at Notre Dame University and an expert in constitutional law, told Breitbart News, “Gay Americans are afforded all their rights. They can vote, can have almost any job they are qualified for, live where ever they want to, travel unburdened, just like everyone else. Demographics show they are among the wealthiest and best educated people in the United States. No one wants to take anything away from them. But the question becomes, can a tiny sliver of our population change the definition of marriage not only for the 243,000,000 adult Americans alive today, but for all those who will come after us?”
For the most part, gay groups have remained silent about the new, small numbers, likely concerned about what they may mean for public support.