Brown University LGBT Identification Surges To 38% Of Students

According to a recent poll conducted by Brown University’s student paper, the Brown Daily Herald, a staggering 38% of the institution’s student body identifies as part of the LGBT community. That is nearly five times the national rate of 7.2% for non-hetero adults, as a 2022 Gallup poll found. The figures signal a monumental leap compared to the 2010 survey, where the percentage of Brown University students identifying as LGBT was about half what it is now.

The demographic of those identifying as LGBT within the student body has also seen shifts. In 2010, students were given the option to identify as “hetero,” “gay,” “bi,” or “other orientations,” However, the survey conducted in 2022 included a number of new options, including “queer” and “questioning,” which might have contributed to the sudden rise in self-identified LGBT students. Among these groups, a majority of 53.7% identified as bi.

These increased identification figures have sparked discussions around the cause for such a drastic change within a decade. Eric Kaufmann, a researcher at the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, points out an interesting trend. He asserts, “What we find instead is that identity is rising much faster than behavior, indicating that people with occasional rather than sustained feelings of attraction to the opposite gender are increasingly identifying as LGBT.”

This shift might be attributed to either increasing tolerance, encouraging more individuals to confidently express their identities, or a certain trendiness associated with the LGBT label among youth. Kaufmann seems to align with the latter viewpoint, suggesting that the data supports the theory of the rise of LGBT identification as a fashionable trend more convincingly.

On the other hand, some like Sharita Gruberg from the “LGBTQI+ Research and Communications Project with the Center for American Progress” argue that Gen Z, growing up in a time where LGBT stigma is on the decline, is simply more aware and accepting of diverse orientations and gender identities.

However, the question remains whether these figures truly reflect a rise in the number of LGBT individuals or merely indicate a societal shift in the willingness to identify as such. Considering the demographic changes and added identification options in the survey, some observers argue that the figures from Brown University, a notably progressive institution, might not wholly represent broader societal trends.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that identifying as LGBT has also become a political statement for some. Kaufmann argues there’s a political motivation associated with challenging oppressive or dominant power structures, particularly in elite contexts like top universities.

As society continues to evolve and grow more accepting of diverse identities, the question of what drives these identification trends becomes increasingly complex.