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May 14, 2011

Is DC Getting Gayer? BRFSS Survey Results

DC-BRFSS-orientation2 The District of Columbia Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2008 Annual Health Report has some interesting facts about the DC population.

BRFSS respondents were asked about their sexual orientation. Eighty percent (80%) indicated they were heterosexual – which ranked highest – followed by homosexual (5%), bisexual (2%), and other (1%). Females (81%) were more likely than males (78%) to be heterosexual and bisexual (2% versus 1% respectively); however, males (8%) were more likely than females (2%) to be homosexual.
  • Persons who specified their race as “other” ranked highest as being heterosexual (82%). Hispanics and African Americans were equally ranked second at 80%. Conversely, Caucasians ranked highest as being homosexual (8%) followed by persons who specified their race as “other” (6%).
  • High school graduates (81%) were more likely than persons with other levels of education to be heterosexual while college graduates (7%) ranked highest as being homosexual. Respon- dents with annual household incomes ranging from $50,000 to $74,999 ranked highest as being heterosexual (85%) whereas respondents whose annual household income was $75,000 or greater ranked highest as being homosexual (8%).
  • 159 Persons ages 65 years and older ranked highest as being heterosexual (84%) followed equally by persons between the ages of 18-24 years old and 55-64 years old (81%). Persons aged 45-54 years old (8%) ranked highest as being homosexual followed closely by persons aged 35-44 years old (7%).
  • Finally, by ward of the city, BRFSS respondents in Wards 3 and 7 were more likely to be heterosexual (85%). Respondents in Ward 2 were more likely to be homosexual (13%). Ward 1 respondents were more likely to be bisexual (3

The Mayor's Office for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Affairs issued a report on GLB health based on data from earlier years. The results of that survey are on the next page. Plus we talk abut if Washington is getting gayer.

GLBT Health Report1

The interesting thing to think about comparing the two data sets is how in the latest numbers more people report being gay, bisexual, or other.  Does the increase in the number of people identify as other than heterosexual mean the city is getting gay?  Probably not.  Most likely it means that non-heterosexual people feel safer admiting that to someone doing a telephone survey  This is probably also the reason for the large differences based on income, race, and education.  This is a survey based on self-reported data. There are people who have been having relationships with their own sex exclusively yet maintain they are heterosexual


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