Is high school LGBQTIA+-ism regional?

Messages from a suburban Massachusetts friend to a group chat:

  • Philip, you were right to move out of here
  • I just got into my daughter’s phone to read what she and her friends are talking about
  • Friend: Guess what happened to day. G told me that M is bisexual and went on a date with R. G also said that she thought I was bisexual and had a crush on me in 6th grade
  • [Daughter]: No way. Not M. Can’t believe it.
  • Friend: Why is everyone bisexual now? We are literally the only ones left. I want more straight friends.
  • [Daughter]: Me too. Nothing against LGBTQ people, but they talk about being LGBTQ all the time.

Another participant pointed out that maybe the identification as LGBTQIA+ is helpful/necessary to get into elite colleges. He referenced Harvard Law School, at which 17 percent of students are LGBTQIA+:

(Exercise for readers: See if you can walk around the campus and identify the “47% students of color”!)

“More Harvard, Yale freshmen identify as LGBTQ than as conservative, surveys find” (NBC, 2018):

Approximately 20 percent of first-year students at Harvard and Yale identify as something other than heterosexual.

Unless fully 20 percent of high school students identify as “other than heterosexual,” being non-hetero is advantageous in being admitted to Harvard and Yale.

Back to the heroine of our story… The daughter in the above chat session attends a public high school in a prosperous, but not crazy rich, suburban Boston town.

[How about middle schoolers? A local 8th grader came home and said that she’d been assigned to interview a parent regarding their attitudes toward the rainbow religion. The father, despite being a passionate Trump-hater and reliable voter for Democrats, failed all five questions in the daughter’s estimation. She then reported his attitudes regarding the official government religion to a government employee. I noted that the government had previously used schoolchildren to rat out parents for using drugs (see ). The 8th grade girl’s take-away? “I think they’re trying to convince us to become gay because they’re always talking about how great it is.”]

Readers: Is the prevalence of high school students identifying as LGBTQIA+ a regional variable, as this father supposes? Would a young scholar in a suburb of Tampa, Albuquerque, or Chicago be just as likely to identify as LGBTQIA+ as his/her/zir/their counterpart in the Boston suburbs?


  • “Outbreak: On Transgender Teens and Psychic Epidemics” (Psychological Perspectives, 2017): … we appear to be experiencing a significant psychic epidemic that is manifesting as children and young people coming to believe that they are the opposite sex, and in some cases taking drastic measures to change their bodies. Of particular concern to the author is the number of teens and tweens suddenly coming out as transgender without a prior history of discomfort with their sex. “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria” is a new presentation of a condition that has not been well studied. Reports online indicate that a young person’s coming out as transgender is often preceded by increased social media use and/or having one or more peers also come out as transgender. These factors suggest that social contagion may be contributing to the significant rise in the number of young people seeking treatment for gender dysphoria.

13 thoughts on “Is high school LGBQTIA+-ism regional?

  1. I haven’t been there recently but I would expect that the Rainbow Religion runs strong in some of the wealthier suburbs of Chicago, including the very close suburbs (not really suburbs) like Evanston (Northwestern U.)

    I would guess that the, um, penetration varies town by town, though. Some of the Chicago suburbs and exurbs are quite Conservative compared with the others, although they’re going down the drain too. I wonder what it’s like in Batavia? You should fly out to O’Hare (you know you can’t land at Meigs field any more heh) sometime and visit friends in Batavia if you have any and report whether they’re using rainbow wind socks on the runways there and if they’ve repainted the LINAC.

    • Ivan, time for LGBTQ+ community to sue Harvard for discrimination! You numbers show that 45% of all student candidates are LGBTQ+ but only 20% of those admitted to Harvard are self-identifying as LGBTQ+

    • A 65-year-old white male heterosexual friend likes to say “I’m proud of my race and my sexual orientation.”

    • Philip, I have had to deal with college admissions and even observed conference of college admissions officers from outside. Yet to see a single 65 year old mail there, sampling at multiple time intervals at different colleges as well as at inter-college conference about 8 years ago, total time interval – past 30 years. Where do college admissions officers go when they get old?
      I sense another college discrimination case.

    • Meant to write “40 years old male of any “sexuality” ” instead of “65 year old mail”

  2. This has a lot to do with Hollywood.

    We need to bring back TV shows like Married with Children, Three’s Company, Night Court, M*A*S*H, et. al. Today’s shows is all about inclusion, diversity and social sensitivity. There is nothing to watch, and I hardly watch anything on TV any more. Even sports are now becoming more about delivering a message rather than the game. And don’t get me started on reality TV such as Big Brother, The Bachelorette / Bachelor or Hell’s Kitchen to name some.

  3. Fun Days with Psychology Grad Students Department:

    Since we both lived in one of the biggest LGBTQIA+ neighborhoods (I did it to stay in close proximity to her and it cost me ) in the Midwest and one of my -exes took a great interest in sexual identity, one day she was interested to find out if, perhaps perchance, I was actually bisexual or genderfluid or one of the other 150+ designations that were soon to emerge (about 20 years later) as valid identities among the general public.

    We took a walk through the neighborhood past the bookstores and boutique shops and the bars and nightclubs, and she popped into a video store to rent some gay porn while I ordered some vegetarian food for the two of us at a local restaurant (I was pretty much a vegetarian too, just like Jules once said) and watched it together in her apartment, whilst sitting on the floor in comfortable clothes. She had hoped to acquire a suitable scientific instrument I could wear to make the experiment more #Scientific. ( ) Alas, that turned out to be a futile search in the timeframe she was looking at (one afternoon) but she came up with an ad-hoc solution, which consisted of her placing her hand on my crotch every few minutes or so during what she deemed to be the “hot” scenes.

    Well, I registered approximately Zero Excitement for a while and I wasn’t trying to suppress anything. I wasn’t revolted or anything, but I found it pretty, um, boring. Finally after a few tries she registered a blip with her very sophisticated and sensitive instrumentation. She said: “I knew it! You can’t control that and you responded.”

    I said: “I think it has a lot more to with you sitting here next to me grabbing my ***k. Enough of this stuff, don’t we have something better to do? You’re looking mighty good in those jean shorts.”

    Fun days!

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