Official data indicates that about a quarter of high school students identify as gay, bisexual, or have more flexible sexual orientations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual youth report found that only 75.5 percent of people ages 14 to 18 said they were heterosexual in 2021 — a new low.
The remainder said they were either bisexual (12.1 percent), gay or lesbian (3.2 percent), “other” (3.9 percent) or said they had “questioned” their sexuality (5.2 percent).
The percentage of students who do not consider themselves straight has more than doubled in recent years — from 11 percent in 2015 to 24.5 percent in 2021.
The rates of alternative sex in school-age children are much higher than in the adult population—about seven percent being gay, bisexual, or other.
CDC 2021 data released today shows that 24% of high school students said they were either bisexual (12.1%), gay or lesbian (3.2%), “other” (3.9%) or said they “questioned” in their sexual lives (5.2%).
One in four high school students in the United States report that they identify as a gender other than heterosexual. That’s a sharp rise over the past six years, when only 11 percent were identified as such in 2011
Experts say the explosion in alternative sexuality among children can be attributed in part to the increase in acceptance.
Dr. Molly Blackburn, who teaches sexuality studies at Ohio State University, told DailyMail.com:It is an increase in acceptance from both parents and society.
“(People’s acceptance) creates a context in which a child is more willing to say they are gay.”
Don’t think that the actual number of lesbian, gay, or bisexual children has changed in recent years, but young people are more willing to admit that now.
But Guy Richard, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation for Conservative Ideas, said the US was an anomaly.
In the United Kingdom, for example, eight percent of people aged 16 to 24 identify as LGBTQ, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
He said the rise of gender studies in American schools in recent years was partly behind the rise. “There is no doubt in my mind that schools play an absolute role in this growth.”
In recent years, some schools have begun teaching sex education through the second grade, which has drawn opposition from conservative lawmakers.
Richard also alleged that an increased political focus on social justice was motivating children to say they weren’t heterosexual, to sound “less obvious”.
“There are social incentives to declare yourself a sexual minority,” he added. There is nothing you have to do to be bisexual. You can only make yourself cooler.
Richard also said that the new scanning method implemented in today’s CDC report has “weaker results.”
The data comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s semi-annual Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey. It’s the first report since the covid pandemic.
The nationally representative survey included data from 17,232 children across 152 schools in 45 US states.
Teens are surveyed anonymously on many factors, from their mental health, sexual identity and whether they use drugs or carry weapons.
In this survey, students who responded as “gay,” “lesbian,” “bisexual,” or “questioning” were considered to be in the “non-heterosexual” group.
The CDC found that 25 percent of students fall into this group, up sharply from just 15 percent in 2017.
However, the CDC notes that changes in the state in which questions could be responsible for the sharp rise. Adding “question” as an answer may increase rates.
Increases in the percentage of LGBQ+ students in YRBSS 2021 may be due to changes in question wording to include students identifying as questioning, “I am not sure of my gender identity (interrogation),” or otherwise, “I would describe my gender identity in another way.” .
The report found that children who identify as part of the LGB community are significantly more likely to undergo serious mental health struggles.
More than half of female high school students who identify as intersex have seriously considered attempting suicide, and 40 percent identify as intersex.
This compares to 20 percent of female students who are heterosexual.
26 percent – more than one in four – of bisexual students have attempted suicide.
Blackburn says these rates are so high because bisexual students have a hard time fitting in with their peers, as they can be rejected by both the straight and lesbian communities.
This compares to 15 percent of lesbians and 8 percent of non-straight girls.
Some have said the increase in children who identify as LGB is a result of increased acceptance in the US after same-sex marriage became legal in 2015. Others say instead that it is a product of indoctrination in schools (file photo)
Among males, bisexuals were 40 percent more likely to contemplate suicide, and the rate was 35 percent among gay teens.
One in ten heterosexual teens has considered suicide. Five percent have attempted suicide, compared to 20 percent of gay teens and 17 percent of bisexual males.
These students were also more likely to be victims of sexual violence.
When asked if they were physically forced to perform sexual activity they did not want, 23 percent of the bisexual students and 17 percent of the gay and lesbian students said so.
This compares to five percent of students who are heterosexual. Students in a same-sex relationship were twice as likely to be sexually abused by their partners.
The CDC writes that “students who identify as intersex and students who have sexual contact with both sexes experience violent victimization at higher rates.”
It is not clear what causes the high rates of adolescents who identify as a gender other than heterosexual.
Some pointed to an increase in community acceptance in recent years. Same-sex marriage was legalized across the United States in 2015, legitimizing society in the eyes of many.
The final classes of high school students are among the first to grow up in a time when gay and lesbian marriage was legal.
On the other hand, some have said that the high rates of identification of LGBT children is the result of indoctrination in schools.
Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida and potential 2024 presidential nominee, blamed the teachings on sex and gender identity in schools.
Gov DeSantis signed HB1557, becoming law in early 2022. The bill banned the teaching of sexual orientation or gender identity in K-3 schools.
Critics have called the bill “Don’t Call Gay”, claiming that it discriminates against the LGBT community.
Proponents argue that teachings about gender identity are not appropriate for schools.