Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A full-fledged Kinsey 6

Posted By on Tue, Jul 8, 2014 at 7:00 AM

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Hi everyone and welcome to my blog, The Kinsey 6! Originally, I was going to call it “The 10%," referring of course to the percentage of the human population identifying itself as LGBTQ. I thought that title would be just perfect since this blog will address issues directly related to that community and my own experiences as a single gay man, a full-fledged “Kinsey 6” (Google it), living on Planet Hetero. However, I found that that statistic, much to my surprise, was completely erroneous.

The assumption that 10 percent of the population is LGBTQ comes from an enormously outdated study conducted by Alfred Kinsey in the 1940s. He calculated that 10 percent of the men in his study were homosexual. Decades later, we now know that he oversampled the gay community for his study and that all participants were white men, and mostly from large cities — not really representative of the total human population, wouldn't you say?

According to Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a social psychologist specializing in relationships and the psychology of sex, more recent studies show the overall population of the rainbow tribe is actually much smaller. And one curious statistic reveals that the number of people who identify as LGBTQ tends to be less than the number of people who report having had sexual experience with another member of the same sex — very interesting, no?

So, how many of us are out there already? Well, according to the study, The social organization of sexuality: Sexual practices in the United States, conducted in the U.S. in 1994, only 2.8 percent of men and 1.4 percent of women identified themselves as homosexual. However, in the second study conducted in 2010, Sexual behavior in the United States: Results from a national probability sample of men and women ages 14-94, (also in the United States), 8 percent of men and 7 percent of women identified as either gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

So, in the span of 12 relatively short years the number of gays, lesbians and bisexuals just tripled? Not exactly.

Dr. Lehmiller believes that in the '90s many of us still felt it a bit too risky to reveal our sexual identity. However, as the world gradually became more accepting and tolerant of our existence, we became more relaxed and more willing to tell the truth, thus the resulting higher numbers in 2010.

That sounds plausible, but if these studies didn’t include transgendered and queer people — something inside me is screaming that they didn’t — they too are hopelessly inaccurate.

Perhaps we should be asking ourselves if knowing the number of LGBTQ people even matters? And, seeing that you can’t really guarantee folks are going to answer honestly in any study at any point in time, is it even possible to accurately calculate one?

Maybe we should look at it this way: there are 7.2 billion human beings on the planet and even using the lowest percentages as our guide, that means there’s still a hell of a lot of us out there! I, for one, feel an enormous amount of relief knowing that.

For me, the bottom line is this; regardless of our number, we belong to a burgeoning LGBTQ community that is gradually gaining acceptance and making huge strides in the world at large. And maybe, just maybe, if we pull together, we can make the same strides in this beautiful city and state we call home.

Wow. It was so totally not my intention to get lost in a numbers rant. Normally, I couldn’t care less about statistics — leave it to the PhDs, I say. But when I started writing this post and got a glimpse at the percentages, I came to a startling awareness: I am indeed a member of a minority class — that’s such a weird feeling, almost impossible to describe.

Sure, I’ve always felt like I was on the outside looking in, but now, even though they may not be the most accurate, I have numbers to back it up. Strange.

Anyways, I invite you to join me as I make my way through this implausible existence, and this town, as a full-fledged Kinsey 6 (have you Googled it yet?). And while it won't always be glamorous, or even particularly attractive, I'll strive to make it interesting and informative. Maybe even fun.

So, until next time, "keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.” (Yeah, I know — that was tragically lame.)


Christopher Curcio has lived in Colorado Springs for over 35 years and is employed by Colorado College at Tutt Library. In his spare time you will find him sleeping, napping, dozing while reading, napping while dozing and nodding off while watching "America’s Test Kitchen."

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