According to a new Gallup poll, a record number of Americans now identify as LGBT, but that doesn't necessarily tell the whole story.
Gallup's survey found that 10 million Americans now identify as LGBT, but the number is greater when respondents are asked about specifics acts or attractions.
The report claimed self-identification is only one way to measure the nation's LGBT population. It noted how "direct assessments of same-sex sexual behavior or attraction yield very different (and often larger) population estimates."
Here are some of the other significant findings. Young people born between 1980-1998 were twice as likely as other age demographics to identify as LGBT. Although they account for only 32 percent of the adult population, millennials comprised 58 percent of the total number of self-identified LGBT Americans. Gallup attributes this to a decline in stigma.
While stigma has certainly declined, it's still a significant force that undoubtedly depresses the number of people who feel comfortable identifying their sexuality.
But that doesn't necessarily explain the total discrepancy. One can also engage in sexual behavior or experience attraction that does not significantly impact the way they identify themselves. Furthermore, rigid self-identification is both not a requirement and also not necessarily easy. Many if not most people who identify themselves along the spectrum today did not arrive at their position overnight. Some never will, and that's okay too.
Everyone deserves equal protection under the law regardless of how they see and identify themselves.
That was clearly the guiding principle of the Justice Department under President Obama, but suffice to say we probably shouldn't expect the same under Trump. But I don't expect the Trump regime's nefarious ploys, whatever they may be, will reduce the number of people who feel comfortable identifying themselves. I expect the number will continue to increase under Trump but so will the need to show support for people who do not have safe spaces to live in.
Culturally, America has already moved on in a better direction, but the GOP hasn't and they will have more power than ever to punish people for existing.