The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has unveiled a groundbreaking report shedding light on the surging visibility of LGBTQ+ individuals in the United Kingdom. The statistics, released on September 27th, reveal a remarkable 50% increase in the number of Britons openly identifying as LGBTQ+ between 2017 and 2022. This transformation in societal openness is most striking among young adults aged 16 to 24, with nearly one in ten in this age group identifying as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
A Youthful Revolution
Among the LGBTQ+ community in the 16 to 24 age bracket, the numbers tell a compelling story of progress. Over the past five years, the percentage of LGBTQ+ women within this group has surged from 4.8% in 2017 to a notable 10% in the latest data. For LGBTQ+ men, the shift has been slightly less pronounced but still significant. Meanwhile, Britons aged 35 to 49 have also witnessed a rise in LGBTQ+ identification, increasing from two percent six years ago to three percent in 2022.
The ONS report further highlights the diversity within the LGBTQ+ community. Approximately 1.1% of men and 1.9% of women identify as bisexual, while 2.7% of men and 1.1% of women identify as gay or lesbian. These figures offer a comprehensive glimpse into the evolving spectrum of sexual orientations in the UK.
The regional distribution of LGBTQ+ identification is not uniform across the UK. London emerges as the most LGBTQ+-friendly part of the nation, with 5.3% of its population identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual, surpassing the national average of 3.3%. Meanwhile, Wales stands out with around 4.3% of its population identifying as something other than heterosexual. In contrast, Northern Ireland, the East Midlands, and the East of England lag behind, registering below-average LGBTQ+ visibility.
These statistics align with the growing acceptance of LGBTQ+ individuals in the UK. The British Social Attitudes Survey reports increasingly positive attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people since the 1980s. In addition, a YouGov survey in July revealed record support for same-sex marriage, with a striking 78% of respondents endorsing it—compared to just 42% in 2011—ten years after its legalization in England, Wales, and Scotland.
The ONS report paints a vibrant picture of evolving identities and acceptance, showcasing the remarkable journey of LGBTQ+ individuals toward greater visibility and social inclusivity in the United Kingdom.