Poll: Wisconsin has fewer than average LGBT-identified residents

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Wisconsin is one of the nation’s least gay states, ranking 41st among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in terms of the percentage of citizens who identify as LGBT, according to a Gallup poll.

Gallup questioned 4,633 Wisconsinites between June 1 and Dec. 30, 2012, asking them, "Do you, personally, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender?”

Wisconsinites who responded yes numbered 2.8 percent of the sample group, while 92.9 percent said no. The survey’s authors did not explain the more than 4 percent who said neither yes nor no.

Nationwide, 3.5 percent of respondents said they identified as LGBT. The poll did not ask them whether they had same-sex encounters, only whether they identified themselves by the labels LGBT. Gallup conducted 206,186 interviews, making the poll the largest ever on the subject.

The gayest place, according to the poll, is Washington, D.C., where 10 percent of respondents identified as LGBT. Hawaii came in second with 5.1 percent. Vermont, Oregon, Maine, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, South Dakota, Nevada and California round out the top 10, with California reporting an LGBT population of 4 percent.

The least gay state is North Dakota, where 1.7 percent of the population answering yes. The nine states above North Dakota, beginning with the least gay, are: Montana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Alabama and Iowa. Although Iowa and Wisconsin both reported rates of 2.8 percent, .4 percent more Iowans said no than did Wisconsinites.

The authors of the survey concluded:

“While the variation in LGBT identification across states is relatively small, findings do suggest some evidence that the variation is not entirely random. Social climates that promote acceptance of or stigma toward LGBT individuals could affect how many adults disclose an LGBT identity. LGBT people who live in places where they feel accepted may be more likely than those who live in places where they feel stigmatized to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity to a survey interviewer.

“In general, states where residents express more liberal views are more accepting of LGBT individuals, while socially conservative areas are less accepting. Of the 10 states and D.C. where at least 4% of respondents identified as LGBT, seven are among the most liberal in the country. Conversely, six of 10 states with the lowest percentage of LGBT-identified adults are among the top 10 conservative states in the country.”