Demographer gives estimate of U.S. gay population

Gary Gates, a demographer from California, recently provided an estimate on the number of individuals living in the U.S. who identify as gay. Though the expert did his best to provide an accurate number of 4 million, he states that currently, the true population count remains elusive, according to The Associated Press.

Gates came up with the number as a way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, where he works. He tapped five different studies to reach his estimate.

"One big major question, when you think about how many [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people there are, is what do you mean by LGBT?" Gates told the news source, discussing the difficulties he faced in his count. "This shows that there are pretty big differences between people who use the terms to label themselves versus sexual behavior or attraction."

More official estimates of the population were stalled because many feared that the figures could be used to discriminate against people. This was particularly true during the AIDS/HIV epidemic of the 80s and early 90s.

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