UK

Almost Half Of Young Britons No Longer Define Themselves As Being Gay Or Straight

17/08/2015 11:19 BST | Updated 17/08/2015 12:59 BST
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Group of friends celebrating Gay Pride

More than 40% percent of young Britons say they are neither gay or straight, a new poll has revealed.

Research published by YouGov revealed that 6% of young respondents self-identify as being 'exclusively homosexual' and 49% 'exclusively heterosexual', while 43% said they are somewhere between the two extremes.

Asked to plot themselves on a so-called 'sexuality scale', 23% of Brits claimed they were something other than 'completely straight', the figure doubling to 49% among 18 to 24-year-olds.

yougov sexuality young people graph

Using a self-rating system known as the Kinsey Scale, which divides orientation into seven degrees of sexuality ranging from '0' (100% heterosexual) to '6' (100% homosexual), pollsters asked 1,632 Britons to rank themselves.

The results show a marked generational divide - as older people were more likely to see themselves as exclusively heterosexual.

Young people were more than six times more likely to identify as being, to some degree, bisexual, with 43% of 18 to 24-year-olds saying they were neither completely gay or straight, compared to just 7% of those aged over 60.

It is thought that most respondents to the survey would have been of school age when male homosexuality was legalised back in 1967.

yougove young people sexuality poll lgbt

Will Dahlgreen, a data journalist at YouGov, said the findings proved there was an increasingly open minded approach to sexuality.

“Clearly, these figures are not measures of active bisexuality – overall, 89 per cent of the population describes themselves as heterosexual – but putting yourself at level 1 allows for the possibility of homosexual feelings and experiences," he said.

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Dahlgreen added: "More than anything, it indicates an increasingly open minded approach to sexuality. In a further set of questions asking if respondents could conceivably be attracted to, have sex with or have a relationship with someone of the same sex (if the right person came along at the right time), level 1s were at least 35 per cent more likely to say they could than level 0s."

LGBT celebrity role-models, both in the UK and abroad, may be behind the significant inter-generational change.

Keegan Hirst made history on Sunday, after he became Britain's first openly gay rugby league star.

His 'coming out' followed moves by other LGBT stars, including singer Lady Gaga, actor Colin Farrell and Sherlock writer Russell T Davies, who all have huge followings of young people, and have spoken out in recent years about their sexualities.

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