According to a recent talk I heard, 11% of American adolescents now experience same-sex attraction (SSA). In fact, another study found that 7.6% of millenials now identify as gay.
These numbers are extremely high historically.
I have monitored the prevalence of same-sex attraction using only reliable studies (read: like not The Kinsey Report). Up until about ten years ago, the most reliable study on prevalence was that of Edward O. Laumann et. al., The social organization of sexuality (1994). This study covered the entire U.S. population, achieving the highest response rate ever in a national sexual behavior survey. Just for comparison, let’s review these earlier numbers. Laumann categorized respondents under three levels of “homosexual identity” and found that the percentages of the US population who have experienced any same-sex attraction at any time in life was 6.2% of men and 4.4% of women. Those who experienced a consistent, persistent experience of those attractions (what some might term a “homosexual orientation”) was 2.0% of men and 0.9% of women. And even these numbers were inflated because they included the bi-sexual experience. Needless to say, the percentage of those who would go on to identify with these desires and call themselves “gay” was even smaller.
Pretty big difference from now, no? Just comparing current percentages with these earlier ones shows the trend. As someone who has watched these numbers rising for some time now, I can confidently predict what’s coming next: an even further rise. Because relationships between the genders are continuing to decay.
To preserve the view that people are just “born this way,” apart from any cultural influence, you might object that maybe this shift is not real, that nothing has really changed. It’s just that now, with more acceptance of gay-ness, more people are willing to identify with the desires that they had all along. But that doesn’t suffice as an explanation because the earlier studies accounted for cultural bias.
In addition, we see the same process occurring with transgenderism, disguised as a new diagnosis: “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.” Lisa Littman recently reported on this tellingly labeled party of teens going trans en masse because their friends were. (It was promptly squashed by her own Brown University. Gee, wonder why). Such increasingly recognized phenomena contradicts the hard-wired narratives by showing gender discordance, as well as same-sex desire, to be a changing and changeable part of us.
The fact that prevalence of SSA and gender dysphoria increase over time in line with a cultural disintegration of gendered relations supports the view that gender is really a call from God in relationship. It is not a thing apart from our love for one another and the context of healthy development. While our biology is a sign of how God has equipped us for our call, sexual desire, and gender congruence, can be environmentally shaped…or damaged.
If your goal is to help people to become whom God is calling them to be, you should face these facts about gender disorders. Allow those who recognize that call to determine themselves differently. As we watch the rise in the number of people feeling out of step, let’s renew their hope that they can answer God’s call.