Rewire Logo
A nonprofit journalism
website produced by:
Twin Cities PBS Logo

How LGBTQ Opinions on Relationships Have Changed Since Marriage Equality

by Katie Moritz
November 2, 2016 | Love

The U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 marriage equality ruling — granting the right to marry to same-sex couples nationwide — was a huge moment in the country's lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer history. But a new study of LGBTQ singles across the country says the ruling doesn't impact how most members of the dating pool think about marriage.

According to the study, conducted by Research Now and evolutionary biologist and gender studies professor Justin R. Garcia of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, 25 percent of the LGBTQ daters surveyed have never wanted to get married, with 53 percent saying they've always wanted to and 21 percent feeling ambivalent about it. Most of these — 61 percent — say the Supreme Court ruling has had no impact on how they feel about marriage. Seventeen percent say they may rethink their feelings based on the law change.

The study surveyed 1,000 U.S. LGBTQ people 18 years old to older than 70 and not in a committed relationship. About 80 percent of those surveyed said their goal was to be in a long-term partnership. The research, called "LGBTQ in America," is an add-on to dating site's annual "Singles in America" report.

"Today's society is full of rich gender and sexual diversity; however, relatively little is known about the dating experiences of LGBTQ people," Garcia said in a news release about the study. "Nearly half of the LGBTQ population in America identifies as single. ... By expanding our annual Singles in America study to include more people of diverse identities, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, we are beginning to address these knowledge gaps to better understand singles today."

Of those studied, 51 percent were men, with 2 percent of those identifying as trans men. Forty-seven percent were women, with 2 percent identifying as trans women. Two percent were genderqueer, not identifying as a man or a woman. When it came to sexual orientation, 63 percent of the group identified as gay or lesbian; 33 percent identified as bisexual. The survey did not allow for any other options outside of those three, such as queer, questioning or pansexual.

It's going down, I'm yelling 'Tinder'

A whopping 56 percent of LGBTQ singles have dated someone they met online, with trans singles doing the most online dating at 65 percent. Forty-six percent of LGBTQ singles met a date last year through a dating app.

You know what they always say: Where there's online dating, there's sexting. Half of LGBTQ daters have sent a sexy photo of themselves to someone they're interested in, with bisexual women sending the most at 64 percent and lesbian women sending the least at 22 percent.

The absence of clearly assigned gender roles adds fun to a queer relationship, but can also cause confusion sometimes — particularly when it comes to who pays for a date. To make it easy, 62 percent of LGBTQ daters think the person who initiates the date should pay. To make it even easier, 44 percent think the bill should always be split.

Sixty-one percent of trans singles say they tell their prospective date about their trans identity before a first date, 15 percent would do so on a first date and 12 percent by the third date.

The study found the old stereotype about queer promiscuity doesn't hold up. Thirty percent of LGBTQ singles don't expect anything physical at all to happen on a first date, and only 9 percent expect sex. The rest fall somewhere in the middle: 57 percent expect a kiss and 25 percent expect a makeout sesh.

The average gay man has 30 sexual partners in his lifetime (with those living in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Riverside having the highest average and those in Boston having the lowest); the average lesbian woman has 12.

Family matters

According to the study, having children is important to 48 percent of "younger" LGBTQ singles, with lesbian-identified people the most likely to want children at 52 percent. Gay men were the least likely to want kids (36 percent said they'd someday want children).

Seventy-four percent of LGBTQ singles say their families would be supportive if they got married.

Come out, come out, whomever you are

The timing of LGBTQ people's coming out about their sexual orientation or gender identity was linked to how young they were when they discovered they were gay, bi or trans, the study found. People who realized they were LGBTQ before they were 18 waited an average of seven years before telling anyone. On the other hand, it takes adults who realize they're LGBTQ about three years to come out, the study found.

Trans men are on average the youngest to realize their LGBTQ identity. By the age of 16, 75 percent of trans men know they're trans, and 50 percent know by the time they turn 13. Seventy-five percent of trans women realize they're trans by the time they're 20, with 50 percent realizing by the age of 13. Trans women take an average of 1.6 years longer to come out about their identity than a gay or bisexual man. Trans men on average wait the shortest time to come out.

Of all single members of the LGBTQ community, bisexual women are the most likely to find the community inclusive. Bisexual men find the community the least inclusive.

Katie Moritz
Katie Moritz is Rewire's senior editor and a Pisces who enjoys thrift stores and pho. Reach her via email at [email protected] or on Twitter @katecmoritz.
Are you here? So are we!
Rewire LogoFor a better life and a brighter future
A nonprofit journalism website produced byTPT Logo
©2020 Twin Cities Public Television.Privacy PolicyTerms of Use