Among 18- to 26-year-olds, 26 percent said they identify as "something other than straight," according to a new poll from Business Insider and YouGov. This compares to 15 percent of Millennials, 11 percent of Gen X, and 7 percent of Baby Boomers.
Gen Z is more likely to identify under the umbrella-term of "queer" rather than a specific label. 5 percent self-identify as queer, compared to just 1 percent of Millennials and Gen X, and less than 1 percent of Boomers.
Gen Z is also more likely to embrace the "bisexual" label, as opposed to "binary terms that suggest they like only one type of person," such as "gay" or "lesbian." 13 percent of Gen Z identifies as bisexual, compared to 7 percent of Millennials and 4 percent of Gen X. Only 1 percent of Boomers identify as bisexual.
However, researchers noted that this does not necessarily mean there are more bisexual people in today's generation, and that the data could instead suggest that more youth today feel comfortable coming out, and being open about their sexuality.
The data nonetheless shows Gen Z's embrace of the term, as well as their embrace of the label queer. Many respondents stated that they alternate between labels depending on the context, using the term queer in tandem with those such as lesbian or gay.
One 24-year-old respondent said that she primarily uses queer, but added that "I also think 'lesbian' has a political meaning, so I like that word as well." Another 21-year-old said he uses both queer and gay, but tends to use queer because "some people like to miscategorize [gay] as excluding people."
Researchers noted that the data and personal examples reflect the fluidity of sexuality, and the attitude among LGBTQ+ youth that, as one respondent put it, "change can be good, too."