More than half of Generation Z (age 13 to 20) does not identify as strictly heterosexual. Whereas 65% of Millennials consider themselves completely heterosexual, only 48% of Gen Z do.
They’re Coming Out
Gen Z celebrities Rowan Blanchard, Janelle Monae, Amandla Stenberg (Hunger Games), and Tessa Thompson have all recently come out as LGBTQ. But according to the trend forecasting agency J. Walter Thompson Innovation Group, these stars have plenty of company.
Specifically, the study asked participants to define their sexuality on a scale from zero to six. On this scale, zero meant identifying as “completely straight” And sic meant identifying as “completely homosexual.” 34% of the participants disclosed a level of bisexuality in selecting a number between 1 and 5. And over a third of participants also strongly agree that gender no longer defines people as much as in the past.
Similarly, a study done by Ipsos Mori in the UK found 66% of Gen Z to identify as completely straight, the most accepting generation as well. But it’s not clear whether Gen Z’s British counterparts are in fact more straight or, far more likely, simply less honest about their sexuality than Americans.
Gen Z and Millennials in Japan are also making a specatular departure from previous generations, impacting all generations as brilliantly demonstrated in the very hip, very informative film Queer Japan.
Millennials may also be a bit surprised at how fluid gender expression has become for America’s youth. For example, most young people (56%) today do not exclusively buy clothes designed for their own gender. That number is ten percent lower at 46% for millennials. Anecdotally, I discovered the truth behind this statistic at a recent moving sale. I felt obligated to tell a male shopper “this is a girl’s sweater,” so he could make an informed decision. Unfazed, he immediately put it on and looked fantastic in it! Designers are now crafting fashion lines and shoes with this aesthetic in mind.
In like manner, 56% of Gen Z says they know someone first hand who goes by gender neutral pronouns (“they,” “them,” or “ze”). That’s a 13% jump over Millennials. I can’t say, however, that I truly know what that means. The few non-binary people I’ve met so far seem like regular young men and women with heightened fashion sense. I would never have considered them non-binary. But I guess the point is to transcend all limitations placed on gender rather than try to fit into the narrowly defined box of the opposite gender.
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The Wide Middle
In the big picture, though, the take away is that we are finally learning that this is how human beings are designed. Nearly every person has the capacity to be attracted to both sexes. Each person really does contain the full gamut of all possibilities. Like a Bell Curve of sorts, few people exist at polar extremes of the continuum of sexualities. Most people – if they are attuned to their own bodies – fall within the wide bisexual/pansexual middle.
Contrary to the long-standing belief that few people are bisexual, the PEW Research Center found that a full 40% of LGBTQ people identify as bisexual. Be that as it may, the fact that many bisexual people are in heterosexual marriages means they end up being mostly invisible. In their final analysis, 72% of bisexuals are still not out. Perhaps bisexuals must work much harder at being out given that people have so many default assumptions about marriage that are no longer true for many.
Want to see for yourselves? Pieces like Room to Grow and Adam have done a great job of giving us a glimpse into the emerging world of LGBTQ Generation Z. To be sure, it will be very interesting to see how they live out their sexuality in future decades.
Check out the trailers for Room to Grow and Adam:
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Last modified: August 1, 2019