The real reason for the rise


A new Gallup poll has found that the number of adults identifying as LGBTQ has risen from 5.6% of the adult US population, measured in 2020, to 7.1% today. That’s almost double the percentage since Gallup began measuring people who identify as something other than heterosexual in 2012.

Unsurprisingly, this increase is driven by Gen Z, where one in five (21%) identify as LGBTQ. It is also not surprising that the vast majority of them consider themselves to be bisexual. As shown in the graph below, the percentage decreases with each previous generation.

As I wrote in my book Meet Generation Z, it is a generation marked by sexual fluidity. The increase in the number of those embracing something other than a purely heterosexual identity is less a change in actual sexual orientation than a new openness to all things sexual. Again, the vast majority would claim to be bisexual, not purely gay.

Why does this happen?

Culture is best identified as both the world we are born into and the world that is born within us. Those in Generation Z who have now entered adulthood – which Gallup counts as those born between 1997 and 2003 – would have been between the ages of 12 and 18 when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in 2015 and the former Olympian became Reality TV star Bruce Jenner very publicly became Caitlyn Jenner.

Due to this kind of cultural background, Generation Z has become sexually and relationally amorphous. It is doubtful that 21% are truly bisexual. what they are is really open. There is a difference. For many, saying you’re bisexual – even if you’ve never engaged in homoerotic behavior – is the ideologically correct thing to say. Sexual fluidity is the refusal of the homosexual or heterosexual label, even of the masculine or feminine label. The idea is that all labels are repressive. Sexuality should be free from restriction and allowed to follow its desire, moment by moment, relationship by relationship, feeling by feeling.

As more Gen Zers enter adulthood, expect the percentages of those who identify as something other than straight to climb even higher, and again fueled by a growing number of even younger members of Gen Z entering adulthood. But don’t read into these findings that our growing cultural tolerance is finally allowing the true size of the LGBTQ community to come into focus. Instead, read in the results of the Gallup poll and other similar polls to come that our post-Christian world and its individualistic amoral acceptance of all sexual choices,

…gave birth to its first generation.

James Emery White


Jeffrey M. Jones, “LGBT Identification in the United States Increases by 7.1%”, GallupFebruary 17, 2022, read online.

James Emery White, Meet Generation Z (Baker).

About the Author

James Emery White is the founder and senior pastor of Mecklenburg Community Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the assistant professor of theology and culture at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also served as their fourth president. His last book After “I believe” is now available on Amazon or your favorite bookseller. To take advantage of a free subscription to the Church & Culture blog, go to, where you can view past blogs in our archive and read the latest church and culture news from around the world. Follow Dr. White on Twitter, Facebook and instagram @JamesEmeryWhite.

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