800,000 LGBTs made coming out on Facebook oh-so 2015

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When the record books close on 2015, great strides in LGBT equality are a sure part of the story. Now Facebook releases numbers that show it’s also a banner year for coming out to friends and family on the site.

In its infancy, no one could have predicted Facebook’s usefulness or prevalence. Likewise, it took real people to show the social network’s value to the LGBT movement. We already know that Facebook is a great resource for LGBT youth and other closeted or questioning people to find others like them and know that they’re not alone. As it turns out, it also served as the outlet for nearly a million people to come out in 2015.

It makes sense. In Facebook’s culture of sharing – not to mention over-sharing – it’s a natural fit to reach the most people fastest with a coming out message as with any other “life event.”  Facebook released hard numbers to back it up in October.

The report shows 6 million people have used the site to come out as gay, bi or trans to their friends and families by indicating sexual orientation and/or customizing gender identity as part of their profile. And the rate of people doing so is skyrocketing exponentially since National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11, 2014, according to the Facebook report.

Over the past year, approximately 800,000 Americans updated their profile to express a same-gender attraction or custom gender. Further, not only has the total number of Americans who have come out on Facebook risen dramatically, but so has the number coming out each day. The number of people on Facebook coming out per day is on track to be three times what it was a year ago.

At the current rate, a projected 1 million people will indicate their romantic and sexual interest in the same gender, both genders, their commitment to a same-sex relationship or use the custom gender option.

For privacy buffs, yes, Facebook tracks profile changes each day and keep records. While you absorb that, guess which day more people came out on Facebook than any other in the last year?

Hint: It wasn’t National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Nope, June 26, 2015 marked not only the Supreme Court ruling for marriage equality in the U.S., but also a 250 percent jump in people coming out as LGBT on Facebook.

On a typical day, one out of every ten people who change their “interested in” status on Facebook do so to reflect a same-gender interest. On the day of the Supreme Court ruling, this ratio was double, one out of every five people.

Additionally, in the days following the June 26 Supreme Court decision, we saw more than 26 million people display a rainbow filter on their profile picture to indicate support of the decision no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The results of the focus year are shown in the first chart below.

The report goes on to track a 25 percent increase in overall LGBT fan pages, an increasing level of support for LGBT groups among its users, as well as the overall number of people by state who are out as gay, bisexual or transgender.

The second chart below shows the percentages of out people in each state. New York and Nevada have the highest percentage of Facebook users who are openly LGBT. Wyoming and Mississippi show the least out users at 2 percent. Smack in the middle of the pack, 3 percent of Facebook users in both Texas and Georgia are openly LGBT.

In the end, it’s nice to know that technology is changing the way we live – whether to empower you to come out, to donate to LGBT causes, raise money to live your dreams, and even getting you laid.


[Facebook | Towleroad]


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