Last year, polling juggernaut Gallup conducted the largest survey ever in an attempt to estimate how many people identify as LGBT. Some 200,000 people answered, and 3.5 percent of 6,177 Georgia residents say they’re gay. That places our state at exactly the national average. That's way better than how much the South sucks on marriage, though Georgia foes may be stuck on semantics. The latest from Gallup's gay states poll notes that the numbers are remarkably close across all 50 states and D.C. Every state is within two percentage points of the nationwide average of 3.5 percent. The District of Columbia ranked a whopping 10 percent of respondents who say they’re gay and skewed the whole study. Of the states, Hawaii rated highest of reported LGBT-identified respondents with 5.1 percent, and a sad 1.5 percent of North Dakotans were willing to out themselves to pollsters. And that’s an important distinction. While some of Gallup’s language leans toward “states with the most” and “states with the highest” number of LGBT residents, that’s not accurate. What Gallup attained were numbers supporting which states have the most or least gay residents willing to say so in a survey.
Measuring sexual orientation and gender identity can be challenging because these concepts involve complex social and cultural patterns. There are a number of ways to measure lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientation, and transgender status. Gallup chose a broad measure of personal identification as LGBT because this grouping of four statuses is commonly used in current American discourse, and as a result has important cultural and political significance.But the results are still significant, and a great starting point. With a baseline of 2012 statistics, Gallup can keep track of how many LGBT people become more comfortable being out about their orientation and gender identity as time goes by.
Gallup observes that while the variation between most states is relatively small, their data does support a conclusion that LGBT people are more willing to self-identify in states that provide anti-discrimination protections. The states with proportionally larger LGBT populations generally have supportive LGBT legal climates. With the exception of South Dakota, all of the states that have LGBT populations of at least 4% have laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and allow same-sex couples to marry, enter into a civil union, or register as domestic partners. Of the 10 states with the lowest percentage of LGBT adults, only Iowa has such laws.Food for thought, and perhaps much more reliable than all of those other national LGBT lists in which gay Atlanta and Georgia always seem to triumph or fail depending on which way the wind blows. You know like gayest cities, gayest corporate headquarters, failing gayness in metro Atlanta, the most "lesbianish" city, and most "underwhelming" Prides, to name a few. Take a look at Gallup’s state rankings below, then go see more insights and conclusions drawn in the full study.