More Americans Now Believe People Are Born Gay

As scientists continue to try and determine what factors affect sexual preference, a Gallup poll shows 47% of Americans believe you are born that way.

1. A Gallup poll last week showed that 47% of people in the U.S. understand sexual orientation as something you are born with:

In 1978, that number was only 13%.

Graphic by Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed

2. Broken down by other factors:

Graphic by Chris Ritter for BuzzFeed

3. The poll, taken in early May, also finds:


From 1986-1988, only about 1/3 of Americans thought gay and lesbian relations should be legal.

6. As the “nature vs nurture” debate continues, scientists are working to pin-point what factors influence sexuality by working with other animals:

A study published last month attempted to alter female mice sexual preference using serotonin levels. Researchers, led by Shasha Zhang at Peking University in Beijing, bred a group of female mice that lacked serotonin or certain neurons that release serotonin in parts of their brains.

The results showed that these altered female mice preferred other females for sexual activity over males when given the choice. You can read the full report as published here.

Uriel Sinai / Getty Images

7. Researchers concluded that the survey demonstrates, “that a genetic manipulation reverses sexual preference without involving sex hormones.”

From the results of the study:

8. According to Yale Scientific, there are currently over 450 different animal species worldwide with documented homosexual behavior.

Mathieu Belanger / Reuters

9. As American public interest and acceptance increases on the subject, more scientists are getting involved in this type of genetic research.

We may one day have a solid answer on the age old question of whether people are actually, “born that way.”

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Sarah Karlan is the Deputy LGBT Editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Sarah Karlan at
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