PRINCETON, NJ — The percentage of U.S. adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) ranges from 1.7% in North Dakota to 5.1% in Hawaii and 10% in the District of Columbia, according to Gallup surveys conducted from June-December 2012. Residents in the District of Columbia were most likely to identify as LGBT (10%). Among states, the highest percentage was in Hawaii (5.1%) and the lowest in North Dakota (1.7%), but all states are within two percentage points of the nationwide average of 3.5%.
The problem with a number like this is, do we have a low number because there just aren’t a lot of gays in the state? Or because gays/lesbians/transgendered people sense hostility toward them in the state and are afraid to be open about who they are?
I’m not sure that’s something we can quantify, but I think the latter is probably true for a lot of gays in the state.
One of the arguments in favor of a bill which would have added gays to the list of classes protected from discrimination was that North Dakota has a reputation for being hostile to gays. I opposed that bill, because I object to creating classes of people with special protections under the law, but I can’t argue with the view of North Dakota as being an unfriendly place for homosexuals.
That’s something North Dakota should be ashamed of.
We need a bit more “live and let live” in this state.