Gen Z Is the Queerest—and Most Bisexual—Generation

Mar 1, 2024 | 2024 Spring - Letters to Myself, Research Corner

By Robyn Ochs

The numbers are clear: Gen Z is the queerest—and the most bisexual—generation. 

In January 2024, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) released a new survey that included data on sexual orientation identity. PRRI is a “nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research at the intersection of religion, values, and public life.” The research described below is part of a larger study titled “A Political and Cultural Glimpse into America’s Future.” 

The survey found that 28% of those in Gen Z who are 18 or older identity as LGBT+, making Gen Z by far the queerest generation. These findings are similar to those of Gallup polls, which found similar generational dissimilarities, though the percentages they found were lower than those of PRRI: Gallup’s most recent survey found 19.7% of Gen Z self-identifying as LGBT+.

PRRI researchers surveyed more than 6,600 people ages 13-65+, with oversamples of Gen Z adults and teens, between August 21 and September 15, 2023.

The generational differences are dramatic, with each successive generation more LGBTQ+ than the one preceding it. In “The Silent Generation” (people born between 1928 and 1945), 97% identify as straight. In Gen Z the percentage identifying as straight is only 72%. 

The survey found that 15% of Gen Z identifies as bisexual, 5% as gay or lesbian, and 8% as “something else,” making bisexual by far the most common LGBTQ+ identity. Looking across generations, bisexuality is also the fastest-growing identity. Interestingly, in the Silent Generation, Boomers, and Gen X populations, more people report a lesbian or gay identity than a bisexual one. For Millennials and Gen Z, the reverse is true.

For both the Gen Silent and Boomer generations, the percentage of respondents self-reporting as bisexual is less than 1%. For Gen X, it’s 2%. For Millennials, it’s 7%. And for Gen Z, it’s 15%. 

Another area that is growing significantly is what PRRI lists on its chart as “other.” It has gone from a fraction of 1% for the  Silent Generation, Boomers, and Gen Xers, to 4% for Millennials and 8% for Gen Z. I hope PRRI will release more information about this group. I suspect that much of it will fall under the bi+ umbrella, making our percentages even larger.

Why is this happening? That would be an excellent subject for future research. My own take (and that of participants in my own programs when asked this question) is that factors include reduced social stigma, dramatically increased access to information, more role models and representation, and less rigid categories of identity which are easier to opt into. 

Robyn Ochs is a speaker, bi+ and LGBTQ+ advocate, and editor of BWQ and two anthologies, Getting Bi: Voices of Bisexuals Around the World and RECOGNIZE: The Voices of Bisexual Men.

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