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social sciences

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Gay Men and Lesbians in the Military

There are an estimated one million gay and lesbian veterans in the U.S. Coupled gay men are less likely than other men to serve in the military, while partnered lesbians are more than five times as likely as other women to report ever having served in the armed forces.


The myriad policy debates about gay and lesbian rights occurring in voting booths, courts, and legislative bodies around the world most often take place with limited information about the population under debate. In addition to the United States, census data collection efforts in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries are now including ways to count same-sex couples. As more countries recognize marriage rights for these couples, additional data will likely become available.

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An increasing number of surveys are also asking questions about sexual orientation and gender identification. These data collection efforts hold the promise of providing a more accurate demographic picture of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.

Gary J. Gates

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social sciences >> Overview:  Census 2000

Census 2000 revealed that there were 594,391 gay male and lesbian couples in the United States, living in 99.3 percent of all U.S. counties; nearly a quarter of these couples are raising children, and these families live in 96 percent of U.S. counties.

social sciences >> Overview:  Family

Many glbtq people reject a fixed definition of family imposed by society, and instead claim the right to define their own families as they choose.

social sciences >> Overview:  Geography

Over the past 25 years, the academic discipline of Geography, especially its social scientific and humanistic branch, has been attuned to glbtq people, places, and natures.

social sciences >> Overview:  Market Research

Over the past decade, the field of market research has developed a more complete snapshot of a highly diverse population of glbtq consumers by using newer scientific methodologies.

social sciences >> Overview:  Military Culture: United States

The United States military's relation to homosexuality is complex and contradictory, defining itself explicitly in opposition to homosexuality, but nevertheless facilitating the very behavior and identity it seeks to exclude.

social sciences >> Overview:  Parenting

Even though glbtq people have been parents throughout history, recent political movements and advances in fertility technology have given rise to a much more visible and self-identified gay and lesbian parents.

social sciences >> Overview:  Same-Sex Marriage

Lesbian and gay couples have been fighting for the freedom to marry since the dawn of the modern glbtq struggle for equality; despite some success abroad, progress toward same-sex marriage in the United States has been slow.

social sciences >> Kinsey, Alfred C.

The most important sex researcher of the twentieth century, Alfred C. Kinsey contributed groundbreaking studies of male and female sexual behavior in America.


Badgett, M.V. Lee. Money, Myths, and Change: The Economic Lives of Lesbians and Gay Men. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.

_____. "The Wage Effects of Sexual Orientation Discrimination." Industrial and Labor Relations Review 48 (1995): 729-39.

Black, Dan, Hoda Makar, Seth G. Sanders, and Lowell Taylor. "The Effects of Sexual Orientation on Earnings." Industrial and Labor Relations Review 56.3 (2003): 449-69.

Black, Dan, Gary J. Gates, Seth G. Sanders, and Lowell Taylor. "Demographics of the Gay and Lesbian Population in the United States: Evidence from Available Systematic Data Sources." Demography 37.2 (2000): 139-54.

Gates, Gary J., and Jason Ost. The Gay & Lesbian Atlas. Washington: Urban Institute Press, 2004.

Kinsey, Alfred. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1948.

Laumann, Edward O., John H. Gagnon, and Robert T. Michael. The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.

Statistics Canada. "Canadian Community Health Survey." The Daily (June 15, 2004).


    Citation Information
    Author: Gates, Gary J.  
    Entry Title: Demographics  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated February 3, 2005  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  


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