Bit of a stereotype isn’t it?

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people may be more likely to smoke and drink excessively, a major new study has found.

The new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also found that 1.6% of Americans identified as gay or lesbian, and 0.7% identified as bisexual.

‘Significant differences were found in health-related behaviors, health status, health care service utilization, and health care access among U.S. adults aged 18–64 who identified as straight, gay
or lesbian, or bisexual,’ the report found.

One of those times when the old and new meanings of a “gay life” coincide perhaps.

17 comments on “Bit of a stereotype isn’t it?

  1. 1.6% eh? Remember when it was a ‘scientific fact’ amongst the great and the good that the rate was 10%?

  2. @Rob: yes, interesting, and worth quoting. Perhaps the remaining 8.32% got fed up with it. Or gave up gaying rather than booze. Or something.

    The Yanks have a different attitude towards drink; get done for driving under the influence and they *force* you to go to Alcoholics Anonymous.

  3. Evidence provided by Private Eye in the 1980s in their “Wimmin” column – they reproduced a leaflet that exhorted lesbians to emulate their sisters in Paris and meet in the last carriage of tube trains.

    However, because in those days, the last carriage was non-smoking they should instead meet in the second-last carriage instead.

    Gawd knows what they do nowadays, when you’re not even allowed to booze on the tube either.

  4. Rob – the “10% of people are gay” figure came from gay rights pressure groups, and included anybody who had ever bought a “Frankie Says Relax” t-shirt.

    Most independent studies have tended to put the actual figure at around 2%.

  5. Since they (mostly) don’t have kids at home, they have more time and more money to spend down the pub. We already know that uninhibited by the constraints of societal norms, gay men have more sex; by the same logic they probably also drink more, and maybe even take more drugs. It’s logically consistent, if politically incorrect.

  6. Steve

    Actually they put it at around 1.5-2% for men and 0.5-0.75% for women. Which makes 1.2% (actually 1.1875% – what some call pedantry, I call precision!) overall.

  7. Recusant – you pendant!

    I’m surprised the figure for women isn’t higher. Based on my search history, most women are busty lesbian nurses.

  8. Rob>

    “1.6% eh? Remember when it was a ‘scientific fact’ amongst the great and the good that the rate was 10%?”

    You imagined that. It’s a stupid debate, really, because clearly sexuality is a spectrum. Some (fairly few, IMO) people are 100% hetero, some (also fairly few, IMO) 100% homo, and the rest are, to one degree or another, somewhere towards the middle. It really depends on how you define what you’re counting.

    To take two extreme definitions, you might count everyone who’s ever had anything that might be considered a momentary same-sex attraction of some kind (or even thinking their own body is attractive), or you might only count those who define their entire life around their homosexuality. Neither would really tell us very much.

  9. Speaking of pedantry…

    The 10% figure is a common misquotation/misunderstanding of Kinsey’s finding that 10% of American males scoring 5 or 6 on the Kinsey scale (JGI) for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55 are homosexual, by which he meant exclusively homosexual.

    Kinsey additionally estimated that 4% of the white male population of the US is exclusively homosexual, though a much higher proportion – 37% – has had at least one homosexual experience to orgasm.

    These findings have been widely criticised over the years (partly of course because they’ve been so widely misreported) but when Kinsey’s research was later cleaned of purported statistical contaminants his estimates held true, as they did again in the late seventies when his research was independently repeated.

    The discrepancy between Kinsey’s 4% figure and the 1.6% figure given by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention presumably arises from the fact that Kinsey’s studies aimed to identify sexual identities regardless of the individual’s professed orientation whereas the Centre for DC and P relies on self-identification, which would naturally give rise to a lower figure.

  10. Rincewind>

    Yeah, but Kinsey was a complete nutcase and didn’t do proper research. His ideas are interesting, but he wasn’t actually competent when it came to collecting data.

    Just to add to what I said earlier about how complicated this is to measure, consider also that there’s not only a spectrum of sexuality, there’s also a spectrum of gender. If someone is attracted to a really realistic transvestite, what do we call that?

    We do seem to spend an awful lot of time, as a species, worrying about what other people rub their genitals against, though, don’t we?

  11. 37pc has had at least one homosexual experience to orgasm.

    I used to like watching Larry Grayson on the Generation Game, but I never thought that he was that funny.

  12. Dave – “If someone is attracted to a really realistic transvestite, what do we call that?”

    A trap.

  13. Steve>

    “A trap.”

    If you’re that easy to ‘trap’, have you considered that maybe your subconscious is trying to tell you something?

  14. Dave – Fascinating creatures though. Looks like a lady, but really it’s a man. I don’t find them attractive, it’s just confusing…

  15. Dave – “Kinsey was a complete nutcase and didn’t do proper research. His ideas are interesting, but he wasn’t actually competent when it came to collecting data.”

    Eh? It’s certainly true that Kinsey himself (a complete nutcase? evidence please?) was acutely aware that his expertise did not lie primarily in statistical analysis. But as I pointed out in my previous post, later analysis which excluded potential statistical contaminants – removing, for example, all evidence based on prison populations which may have been readily available but may have been misreprentational – did not materially alter Kinsey’s conclusions.

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