In honor of this year’s celebration of National Coming Out Day on October 15, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) published a report showing the number of people who have “come out” in the past year. The report also revealed the numbers and locations of the people coming out, including those who changed their sexual orientation status.
“Coming out” is the term used for the voluntary disclosure of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Facebook collected data using the site’s custom gender tool and updating your profile to express a same-gender attraction. Facebook found that the number of people who are “Coming Out” on the social network was roughly “2.5x higher than it was on October 11th (National Coming Out Day) of the previous year.” In the past year, Facebook reported that about 800,000 Americans expressed their same-gender attraction or custom gender.
More than 6 million Americans have identified themselves as LGBT in the last year, and the number of new users on the social networking site, identifying themselves as gay or lesbian has tripled than one year ago. The June 26 U.S Supreme Court ruling had a huge impact on people changing their status. During the court’s decision, more than 26 million people marked their profile with rainbow filter.More than 5.7 million Americans joined at least one of the 300 most popular LGBT pages, a 25 percent jump over the last year.
Jay Brown, the director of research and public education at the Human Rights Campaign Foundation stated that Facebook’s research is proving just what difference visibility makes to LGBT people. According to NBC News, New York and Nevada have the highest number of Americans coming out while Mississippi and Alabama have the lowest numbers. A nationwide poll by Gallup revealed that Americans believed 23 percent of the population is gay or lesbian, but only 3.8 percent of the population identifies themselves as LGBT community member.[ Source ]