TIME

Why Uncle Sam wants to know how many LGBT people are in America

Counting LGBT Americans could spur changes in health care, military policies and more

FOR CENTURIES, BEING LESBIAN, gay, bisexual or transgender in America meant hiding at least part of who you were. The stigma traces as far back as the colonial era, when sodomy was a capital crime. The culture has shifted over time, and recent decades have brought a rapid social transformation. Today, as the LGBT population moves into its full and equal place in public life, more officials are asking an old question with new urgency: Just how many LGBT Americans are there?

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from TIME

TIME2 min read
Conversation
THE MIRACLE MOLECULE Readers lauded Walter Isaacson’s Jan. 18/Jan. 25 cover story on the science behind COVID-19 vaccines. “The article should put readers’ minds at rest,” wrote Richard Mellen, a former biology teacher from Chesterfield, N.H., “knowi
TIME12 min readAmerican Government
Frayed Ties
STACEY PAVESI DEBRÉ’S YOUNG DAUGHTERS HAD A HABIT WHEN THEY SAW PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP ON TV IN THEIR PARIS APARTMENT. They’d hold their noses and boo. That is, until Stacey’s mother Lonnie Pavesi came to visit for a week, to help take care of her gr
TIME10 min read
Doughnut City
ONE EVENING IN DECEMBER, after a long day working from home, Jennifer Drouin, 30, headed out to buy groceries in central Amsterdam. Once inside, she noticed new price tags. The label by the zucchini said they cost a little more than normal: 6¢ extra