“It is amazing to see that younger generations are no longer afraid to be themselves”
BY ELEANOR NOYCE, IMAGE BY PEXELS
New research conducted by Stonewall and Ipsos Mori has found that, in Great Britain, only 53% of Gen Z are exclusively attracted to the opposite sex. Identifying considerable generational differences, 2 in 5 or 40% of Gen Z respondents reported having same-sex attractions, suggesting that young people increasingly feel able to use lesbian, gay and bi labels.
The study further finds that amongst Gen Zs, more people identify as bisexual or pansexual at 14% than gay or lesbian, marking 2% and 3% respectively. By comparison, 3 in 4 – or 77% – of Baby Boomers stated that they were exclusively attracted to people of the opposite sex. Amongst the public in its entirety, this figure stands at two thirds or 66%.
Importantly, the study also finds that 2% of people identify as asexual, including 5% of Gen Z. Asexual activist, model and researcher Yasmin Benoit remarks: “Asexuality has often been considered as an ‘invisible orientation,’ originally thought to occur in only 1% of the population. However, this exciting new research shows that more people of diverse ages identifying as being part of the ace community than ever before. The rise to 2% means that over 134,4400 people in the UK may identify as asexual.
“This isn’t because more people are suddenly becoming asexual, it’s because our understanding of different sexualities is expanding and there is more awareness of asexuality. It’s incredible to see ace people being out and proud, and we need to do more as a society to ensure that this growing population of people are recognised and protected like other minorities.”
Standing at a point of reflection, these findings show that Great Britain is entering a new era. Notably, 2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the abolition of Section 28 in England and Wales, a homophobic piece of legislation that prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” as a “pretended family relationship” by local councils. Coined by the Conservative Government under Margaret Thatcher, teachers were unable to discuss LGBTQIA issues, books with queer or remotely queer-coded themes were wiped from library shelves and LGBTQIA teachers lived in fear of losing their jobs.
20 years on, Stonewall is positive that a Rainbow Britain is realisable. Nancy Kelley, CEO of Stonewall, states: “This ground-breaking new report shows that our lives as LGBTQ+ people are more visible and connected to our friends and families. It is also amazing to see that younger generations are no longer afraid to be themselves and have supportive families and social environments to thrive.
“This profound sea-change in our identity and orientation indicates that the idea of a ‘culture war’ often referenced in parts of the media is a misnomer being propagated by a narrow section of society, out of touch with – and unwilling to accept – the reality of our diverse, inter-connected communities.”
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