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Where Have All the Straight People Gone?

Rob Tisinai

June 19th, 2012

The enemies of marriage equality are pushing Mark Regneres’ recent study as a sterling scientific achievement, but it contains a landmine that they’re either ignoring or just blundering past: There are a lot more non-straight folk out there than they want to admit.

We used to toss around Kinsey’s 10% figure as the percentage of people who are LGB. Lately that’s been revised to 4 or 5%. Our opponents have even tried to knock it down to 1.4%. It’s part of their argument: Why are we spending so much time on such a tiny segment of the population? As though the Constitution listed some numerical requirement before individual rights kicked in.

But the Regnerus study knocks all that to hell. It holds two surprises, one small and one big.

First, the small surprise. Of the folks who specified their orientation (42 declined to answer), 6.6% said they were bi, mostly gay, or 100% gay. That’s higher than expected. But here’s the shocker:

Of the people who gave an answer, only 80.1% called themselves completely straight.

80.1%.

80.1%!

Regnerus claims this of his study:

“[I]t is a random, nationally-representative sample of the American population. At last count, over 350 working papers, conference presentations, published articles, and books have used Knowledge Networks’ panels, including the 2009 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, whose extensive results were featured in an entire volume of the Journal of Sexual Medicine—and prominently in the media—in 2010.

And perhaps he’s right. We’ve slammed him for his strange definitions of “gay” and “lesbian,” for his strange sorting criteria, and for his strange claims that he’s collected a significant sample of “same-sex parents,” but those are different issues. Anyway, the real quandary here is for those who are desperately pushing his results.

Keep in mind that these Regnerus’ sample only covers 18-39-year-olds. I’d love to dig into the data and break it down into smaller age groups (18-23, 23- 28, etc), but that won’t be possible until he makes the details available this fall. Personally, my theory is that surveys of sexual orientation have traditionally undercounted the minority, and we may be seeing a correction of that as the stigma of non-heterosexuality continues to fade.

But in any case, one thing is clear: If our opponents accept the Regnerus study, they have to accept that America is far more sexually diverse than they cared to believe.

Comments

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Priya Lynn
June 19th, 2012 | LINK

It’s been pretty consistent over the years, if you look at the CDC numbers around 9-10% of the population says they are not heterosexual.

WildwoodGuy
June 19th, 2012 | LINK

Agreed Priya, however, this would put those who do not identify as 100% straight at about 19.9%… and that would be nearly double your figures… and definitely smash those claims of around 1.4%.

Quite a huge variable in those numbers.

Of course, claiming L, G, B, or T versus ‘not identifying as 100% straight’ is most assuredly attempting to compare mangoes and kiwis.

Hyhybt
June 19th, 2012 | LINK

The “why are we spending so much time on such a tiny segment of the population” question works at least as well the other way around, anyway: since it’s such an insignificant number of people this affects, why not let us have it if we want?

Priya Lynn
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Wildwoodguy my own personal feeling is that maybe as many as half of all people have some same sex attraction. The claims of only 1 to 3% being not heterosexual are certainly way off the mark.

StraightGrandmother
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

I think I am going to post this on all the Regnerus topics on Box Turtle. Let’s say we all work together and make a terrific website where we collect all this information on the Regnerus’ Study.

We crowd source this and everybody helps. I think what is missing is a lot of comments on the research by other Sociologists. We can all take a State and then call all the Universities in that State and speak to Sociologists there and ask them to provide their feedback on the research.

Other people can work on collecting up all the direct quotes from Regnerus.

Oh and shouldn’t we collect up all the places the data is being misreported? I saw for example a quote something like, “Well this study proves that pedophilia is rampant with gays”

And what about a website? Should we buy a domain name or should we use Blogger or Word press or something? If we hosted this separately how much would that cost us in bandwidth if a lot of people visited? Does anybody have idea on this?

Let’s set this up and organize this so it will be real easy for lawyers from our side to have a good reference point to jump off from.

What else? Do you like this idea? Who will help? I don’t mind if this is a part of Box Turtle and they are getting recognition for this. But I do think to do this right it is to big for the few guys at Box Turtle we need a lot more helping hands than just those guys. Whadda think?

StraightGrandmother
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Another Slate Article Regnerus continues to defend
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/features/2012/gay_parents_study/gay_parents_study_mark_regnerus_and_william_saletan_debate_new_research_.html

mudduck
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

I once heard June Reinisch, one-time head of the Kinsey Institute, say that their surveys consistently showed about 6% of respondants identifying as gay, about 80% as straight, and “the rest are up for grabs.”

Muscat
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

These figures are unweighted, so since there was an oversample of children of “lesbian and gay parents” and those were more likely than other groups to report being non-100%-heterosexual, we would need the weighted figures to know what the study actually is telling us. However, it looks like even for “IBFs” the level is 10% non-heterosexual, and all the rest are higher, so it does demonstrate an overall level of higher than 10% non-100%-heterosexual, which is still quite notable.

Secret Advocate
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

I can anticipate the other side’s spin on this matter (without my agreeing with it).

What they will say (in fact, what I have already heard some of them say even before the Regnerus study was published) is that there is a not insignificant portion of the population — particularly women — which can “fall” either way. They are not on the extreme ends of the spectrum of human sexuality.

Therefore, the argument continues, society should use socialization to steer as many of those people as possible to heterosexuality, so that society will obtain the children that it needs in order to survive.

I remember a concept (probably outdated now) which went by the acronym “GUG.” It stood for “gay until graduation.” It referred to female college students who, as the name suggests, had sexual relationships with other women until they graduated, whereupon they married men and got their two kids and a dog.

The “GUG” concept only seemed to apply to women. For the straight college guys (at least, those who were purportedly straight), the concept evoked a reaction along the lines of, “Don’t even joke about that.”

So, what the other side will say is that gay marriage should not be allowed in order to guide into staight bliss the ones whom June Reinisch described (according to mudduck‘s post) as being “up for grabs.”

Priya Lynn
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

Secret Advocate, my response to that is that with the world dying from overpopulation we don’t need more people to have children, we need fewer people having children.

StraightGrandmother
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

JIM _ YOU HAVE GOT TO DO AN ARTICLE ON THIS
Same-sex marriage is one of the most contentious and vexing issues now facing our nation. It is perhaps in part for that reason that the new study on same-sex parenting by University of Texas sociology professor Mark Regnerus, which finds that young-adult children of parents who have had same-sex relationships are more likely to suffer from a range of emotional and social problems,[1] has been subject to such sustained and sensational criticism from dozens of media outlets, from the Huffington Post to the New Yorker to the New Republic. These outlets have alleged, respectively, that his research is “anti-gay,” “breathtakingly sloppy,” and “gets everything wrong.”

Although Regnerus’s article in Social Science Research is not without its limitations, as social scientists, we think much of the public criticism Regnerus has received is unwarranted for three reasons.

Article Continues at link-
http://www.baylorisr.org/2012/06/a-social-scientific-response-to-the-regnerus-controversy/

ezam
June 20th, 2012 | LINK

How ironic that a study funded by conservatives ended up refuting one of their most popular claims: that less than 3% of the population is LGB.

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