A study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released Tuesday found that there are far fewer who people who identify as homosexual and bisexual in America than many think. The study also found that self-identified homosexuals lead less healthy lives.
According to the study, which was based upon data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), 2.3 percent of Americans identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual. The study also found that “health behaviors,” “health conditions,” and “health care access and utilization” were statistically worse among what the CDC calls “sexual minorities.”
The NHIS survey interviewed 34,557 adults aged 18 and older. This was the first time the survey has ever examined sexual orientation.
The CDC's calculation of the percentage of Americans who are homosexual is lower than many previous studies. According to The Washington Post, other surveys have found estimates closer to four percent.
Larger estimates include that of researcher Alfred Kinsey, whose assertion in 1948 that 10 percent of Americans were homosexual has shaped the common view. However, according to Professor Judith Reisman, “the point of [Kinsey's] exaggerated numbers was to change perception and thus laws to cater to the large population and to normalize homosexuality.”
Kinsey's research has been shown to have numerous flaws. Among them, he focused much of his research on prison populations and pro-homosexual groups, something a former director of the Kinsey Institute described as “opportunistic collection.” He also appears to have focused his study on specific regions of the nation, rather than the country as a whole, and interviewed male prostitutes and sexually abused children, claiming that these demographics represent average Americans.
The CDC study also found dramatically different health behaviors in the homosexual population. Over one-quarter of gay and lesbian Americans over the age of 18 currently smoke, the study found, while fewer than 20 percent of heterosexual Americans do the same. And homosexuals were far more likely to have had five or more alcoholic drinks in one night in the past year than their heterosexual and bisexual counterparts, though heterosexual men drank almost as much as the highest-risk women — bisexuals.
Over 50 percent of bisexual men had drunk at least five beverages in one night, compared with 31 percent of heterosexual men and 34 percent of bisexual women.
Homosexuals were more likely to have met the federal guidelines for aerobic exercise, and to have had flu shots, however.
Bob Witeck, president of Witeck Communications and a LGBT-issues consultant, argued that the CDC's results are skewed. “The gay population sampled very likely skews younger on average than non-gay adults in the sample” because older homosexuals “are more likely not to disclose and remain closeted,” he told LifeSiteNews.
“Younger gay people also tend to socialize, meet and connect with others in gay bars, parties and other social venues. In all of these venues, smoking and drinking are prevalent – not rare. To visit and enjoy a bar’s social setting, for most adults is to choose to drink and smoke. If the data was controlled for age and behaviors about socializing, then the difference between the gay and non-gay adult might be closer.”
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Kevin Naff, editor of the Washington Blade, a homosexual newspaper, told LifeSiteNews that while “it's a terrific milestone that the government is finally gathering data about lesbian, gay and bisexual people, the actual number of gay Americans is routinely undercounted due to the reluctance of many to self-identify as gay.”
Witeck said another major factor in the health differentials were related to how “many gay people do feel more stress in their lives – not about their same-sex attraction or identity, but about the degree of alienation or hostility or disdain they may feel from their family, co-workers or their faith if they feel like outsiders.”
“They must have coping mechanisms that allow them to deal with all forms of stigma, and it’s not at all unusual for people feeling like outsiders to depend more on substances like alcohol and cigarettes,” Witeck said. “Again, that is not because of their sexual orientation. It is because of the way they are judged or alienated by others.”
According to Americans for Truth President Peter LaBarbera, however, “while it's convenient for gay activists to blame homophobia or other outside sources for the ill health of homosexuals, the evidence shows that disease rates and other harms are represented disproportionately among homosexuals.”
“A good example is a study done 12 years after Denmark allowed same-sex domestic partnerships, which found that suicide among men in same-sex partnerships 'was nearly eight times greater than for men with positive histories of heterosexual marriage,’” he continued.
“Certainly,” said LaBarbera, “nobody thinks of Denmark as a bastion of homophobia.”
Likewise, Focus on the Family Issues Analyst Jeff Johnston told LifeSiteNews, “Many studies have shown that lesbian-, gay-, or bisexual-identified people have greater health problems in a wide variety of areas, including behaviors, mental health issues and physical conditions. It’s significant that the CDC study would find similar outcomes.”
Last year, a CDC study of gay men in America found that approximately two-thirds of gay men who have HIV/AIDS engage in sex without using a condom. Earlier in 2013, the director of the CDC's division of HIV/AIDS prevention said that “gay and bisexual men remain at the epicenter of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”
Johnston also said that “the study just confirms what we already knew” about the population size of homosexuals. “What’s interesting,” according to Johnston, “is comparing that number with public perception. The average person thinks the percentage is much higher, probably because of the high profile that entertainment, news media and other influential sources have given homosexuality in recent years.”