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May 4, 2023

In Brief: Are a Quarter of Young Americans Actually LGBTQ?

Why the much-hyped surge in LGBT identity deserves a closer look.

According to the CDC’s latest data, roughly one out of every four high school students in America now identifies as LGBTQ, a drastic increase from 11% in 2015. If that’s true, the groomers are winning big time.

Professor Wilfred Reilly is skeptical that it’s true, though. He doesn’t deny there’s a problem, but he smells a rat.

First, let’s review the numbers themselves. According to figures originally sourced from the Orwellian-sounding Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) administered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 75 percent or so of American high-school students now identify as heterosexual. Roughly 3 percent — combined — ID as gay and lesbian, while 12.2 percent identify as bisexual, 5.2 percent as “questioning,” and 3.9 percent as “other” (trans, nonbinary, etc. would presumably fall here). In what may be a measure of reading comprehension rather than sexual openness, fully 1.8 percent of responding young scholars said that they could not understand the question.

“Obviously,” he says, “there is simply no genetic or biological explanation for a surge like this one.” He also dismisses demographic and “tolerance” reasons.

One clue about what’s going on here is provided by the fact that a lot of today’s “queer youth” don’t seem to be very gay in practice. As noted above, only 3.2 percent of today’s young people say they are primarily same-sex attracted — a figure very much on par with many recorded in the past. That group is outnumbered about four to one by the self-declared bisexuals. For that matter, a surprisingly large chunk of today’s heavily female cohort of “bisexuals” seems to be spaghetti-straight in practice. According to data from the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, 55 percent of self-declared bisexual women under age 30 have had only heterosexual sex (if sometimes quite a lot of it) in the recent past. …

Further complicating this picture is the fact that sexually active people of any kind are rapidly becoming a minority among the young. According to the 2021 YRBSS report, the percentage of American high-school students who have ever had sex fell from almost 60 percent in 1991 to 30 percent in 2021.

He appropriately quotes homosexual columnist Andrew Sullivan, who says, “The most plausible explanation is that everyone wants to be ‘LGBTQ+’ now — so why not lie and be cool?” In other words, social contagion.

That social contagion is spreading, Reilly says, because at this particular political moment, there’s no better way to “move away from mundane middle-class white status.” Reilly may be wrong to downplay the deleterious effects of this contagion, arguing that parents shouldn’t really worry that much or do much about it. Yet he does make a valid point about teens: “Speaking as a cynic, I’d say probably the worst way to prevent your teenage daughter or son from participating in a trend you aren’t thrilled about is to get hysterical enough about it to make it seem rebelliously cool.”

More importantly, he concludes:

At a deeper level, two tips do come to mind. First — and this applies more in the context of gender than of sexuality but is important — it is a hellaciously bad idea to let any minor child make permanent physical changes to his or her body on the basis of an identity that, statistically, the kid will very likely not hold in ten years. Second, there is a lot to be said for normalizing normalcy inside your home. Tell your kids that you’ll love them in any case, but also that postmodern ideas are almost invariably bullsh**, and that … there’s nothing wrong with being a boring, well-adjusted, middle-class kid from [insert name of boring city here].

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