LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Common variants of LGBT are LGBTQ, LGBTQ+, LGBTQIA, and LGBTQIA+, which do not represent different community politics but are preferred by some. These variants are more inclusive of all individuals who are non-heterosexual and non-cisgender instead of exclusively applying to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ people face discrimination, inequality, and violence worldwide. Countries have different rights encompassing everything from legal recognition of same-sex marriages to the death penalty. In the United States, the landmark Supreme Court case, Obergefell vs. Hodges, ruled it unconstitutional for the state to ban same-sex marriages. As of 2020, 37 states and D.C. have legalized gay marriage. The remaining 13 states have a ban on same-sex marriages; however, eight have court rulings in favor of allowing them.
The demographics of sexual orientation are very difficult to track because there are no official ways to obtain this information. While surveys gather self-reported data, there are challenges to researchers in inquiring about such a sensitive subject. Also, different questions yield different results. For example, one set of questions may seek self-reported data on same-sex sexual experiences, while another set may seek data surrounding personal identification as lesbian, gay, or bisexual.
States with large populations, like California, Florida, New York, and Texas, obviously have the highest numbers of estimated non-heterosexual residents. Other states with LGBTQ+ protections, such as Massachusetts and Colorado, also have higher estimated populations of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and otherwise non-heterosexual individuals.
In terms of actual population numbers, California has the largest LGBTQ+ population of 1,859,000. San Francisco and Santa Rosa are considered the gayest cities in the U.S.. Seattle, Boston, and Portland finish the top five.
LGBTQ Pop Rate (High Estimate) (per 100k)
LGBTQ Pop Rate (Low Est.) (per 100k)
|District of Columbia||29.49||7.41|