Are we getting queerer?

Quarter of UK adults identify as something other than "completely heterosexual" according to YouGov research



Research carried out by YouGov shows that 26% of UK adults identify as something other than "completely heterosexual" according to the Kinsey Scale – and this rises to a third (35%) of those aged 35-44, and more than half (55%) of those aged 18-24. 


The survey of 2,000 UK adults was commissioned by media agency UM as part of an ongoing research project examining stereotyping in advertising. 


The research also found that 60% of Brits – including 85% of those aged 18-24, and even 48% of those aged 55+, believe sexuality should be viewed on a scale, rather than people being "simply gay or straight".


It tells a very different story to the data compiled by the Office for National Statistics in 2016, which found that only 2% of the adult population identified as something other than straight, accounting for around one million Brits, where this new survey suggests the number is actually closer to 17 million. (Just a bit of a difference, eh?)



“The comparison of this year’s anonymous data with that from the ONS might seem jarring," said Michael Brown, head of insight at UM. 


"However, what this shows is that Kinsey was right to view sexuality as a spectrum. After all, trying to define something as complex as sexuality in binary terms is at best crude, and at worst – fantastical.” 


Overall, around one in six Brits (16%) has had a sexual experience with a member of the same sex, which rises to a quarter (25%) among those aged 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44.


Heterosexual women are also more open to same-sex experiences than men, with one in five (20%, vs only 8% of straight men) saying they could maybe or definitely be attracted to someone of the same sex.


Research by UM has also revealed the strides that UK society and advertising has made in recent years when it comes to fighting negative stereotypes around sexuality.


Almost half (40%) think gay and bisexual men have become more positively perceived by society over the past three years, while 37% see a more positive perception of lesbian and bisexual women over the same period. 


Seven in 10 Brits (71%) think this positive change in perception for gay and bisexual men comes from a general opening-up of society, but more than half (54%) think more positive media coverage is responsible. 


Similarly, 53% see media coverage as the reason for a better perception of lesbian and bisexual women – and even more (64%) see it as a driver of positive perception for transgender individuals.


Still, at the same time, 61% of lez/bi women and 60% of gay/bi men still believe their respective groups are negatively stereotyped.


Two-thirds (66%) of gay/bisexual men aged 18-34 think that there aren’t enough LGBTQ+ people shown in ad campaigns, and half (52%) think "the community is invisible" in advertising. 


Crucially for DIVA reader, 60% of lez/bi women think they have less visibility in the public eye compared to gay/bi men.



Only reading DIVA online? You're missing out. For more news, reviews and commentary, check out the latest issue. It's pretty badass, if we do say so ourselves. // //


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