While a sometimes intrusive curiosity has led American researchers to survey the lifestyles and habits of the LGBT community many times over—mainly questioning their sex habits, and even their arrest records—or to survey society at large on their acceptance of the community, very little research has been done on the self-perception of LGBT Americans. That is, until now.
Logo—the Viacom-owned network for gay audiences—has released a landmark study, polling a nationally representative sample of over 1,000 gay men between 18 and 49, “asking them how they saw themselves and their communities and following up with smaller groups in a number of cities,” The Washington Post, who received an advance copy of the study, reports. The survey is the first in a series on the LGBT community that Logo plans to conduct.
The survey, “Gay Men in America: Community at a Crossroads,” reveals a number of positive gains within the community. Ninety-five percent of respondents agreed that “younger gay men are embracing their gay identity more so today than in the past.” Another 67 percent agree “my life is more interesting because I’m gay” and 75 percent agree being gay “has had a positive effect on my life.”
81% agreed on the necessity of gay institutions and lamented the loss of gay bars and neighborhoods.
And while acceptance by the population at large continues to grow, gay men do report fearing a loss of community. Sixty-one percent of respondents agreed “in the past, the gay community was more united than it is today.” Another 81 percent agreed on the necessity of gay institutions and lamented the loss of gay bars and neighborhoods.
“As Logo celebrates its tenth anniversary, we wanted to talk to our audience and find out how these greater forces are shaping both their connection to the community and individual identities,” Chris McCarthy, General Manager of VH1 and Logo, said in the survey press release. “As we look at gay men, we find that many of them are enjoying the acceptance won by the struggles of the past, but also longing for the galvanizing effect those struggles had on the gay community.”
As the gay community integrates more with dominant culture, many “feel subject to a new set of cultural pressures and expectations,” the survey press release says. Six in 10 gay men in their 20s say “now that gay marriage is legal in so many places, my family expects me to get married and have children one day.” Still, 88 percent say “gay people shouldn’t have to conform to straight people’s norms and values.”
62% of gay men agree that ‘there are some aspects of gay life we should not share with straight people’
In contrast, many gay men feel that straight people might be unduly co-opting their culture. Eighty-eight percent of gay men agree “the gay community should be recognized for the contributions we have made to mainstream culture,” while 62 percent agree, “there are some aspects of gay life we should not share with straight people.” The vast majority of gay men also wish there were more gay role models and mentors in the public eye—so get to it, media.
Photo by Alobos Life