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This 1970 Explanation Of How Many Women Are Lesbians Is Truly Incredible

"One would be capable of lesbianism only under extreme circumstances."

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In a 13 minute segment, currently available on ABC iView, reporter Peter Couchman interviewed Australian lesbians about their lives and attended a meeting of the Australasian Lesbian Movement.

The segment opened with newborn babies screaming in hospital cots, and the voiceover: "It's quite feasible that at least one of these babies will grow up to be homosexual. Even though there's a strong scientific theory that says none of them has actually been born that way. In fact, at birth, they were all potentially bisexual. But already, after only a couple of days, they've begun a so-called learning process that will virtually teach them to be heterosexual. Like any other kind of education, there'll be some dropouts from the system."

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Utilising the research of noted sexologist Alfred Kinsey, Couchman said: "Kinsey first formulated the notion that some people learn to be better heterosexuals than others, and that for some unknown reason, girls do much better at it than boys.

"In a sample group like this, for instance, there'll tend to be fewer homosexuals among the girls than in a group of boys the same size. It's probably because lesbianism is relatively inconspicuous, that a lot of people find it difficult to believe that it really does exist.

"This is how the figures work out for 100 girls..."

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So, how do Alfred Kinsey's calculations – which have been examined, criticised and contested – stack up against modern research on how many women are lesbians?

According to data collected in the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) survey, 1% of Australian woman identified as homosexual – which matches with This Day Tonight's lone lesbian on the oval.

But the other categories were less perfectly aligned. Some 92% of women told HILDA they identified as heterosexual; 1.3% of women identified as bisexual; 0.8% identified as "other"; 0.8% said unsure; and 3.7% said "prefer not to say".

It's worth noting this is just one study – there is no scientific consensus on how many people are straight, gay, or bisexual.

  1. TAG YOURSELF

    I'm entirely heterosexual.
    I have vague homosexual tendencies.
    I'm capable of lesbianism, but only under extreme circumstances.
    I'm bisexual in varying degrees.
    I'm a lesbian, but capable of limited heterosexual feelings.
    I'M THE LESBIAN.

This 1970 Explanation Of How Many Women Are Lesbians Is Truly Incredible

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TAG YOURSELF
  1.  
    vote votes
    I'm entirely heterosexual.
  2.  
    vote votes
    I have vague homosexual tendencies.
  3.  
    vote votes
    I'm capable of lesbianism, but only under extreme circumstances.
  4.  
    vote votes
    I'm bisexual in varying degrees.
  5.  
    vote votes
    I'm a lesbian, but capable of limited heterosexual feelings.
  6.  
    vote votes
    I'M THE LESBIAN.

Lane Sainty is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney, Australia.

Contact Lane Sainty at lane.sainty@buzzfeed.com.

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