Marcus, Michele Bachmann Lowball The Number Of Gays—And They’re Right

A news video went live on CNN, Huffington Post and numerous other outlets that showed Michele and Marcus Bachmann dismissing the statistic that 10% of the population is gay as “a myth.”

The loving couple met up with Kathy Schnell at a campaign stop in Iowa, where Schnell asked them to autograph her “gay-friendly Iowan” sign. “I wonder if you’re aware that 10% of the population is gay,” Schnell then said. “And if you have 28 children, then 2.8 of those kids are very likely gay.”

“Well, that’s according to the Kinsey Report,” Michele replied. “Your facts are wrong,” chimed in Marcus.

“That not valid?” Schnell asked.

“No, it’s not at all. That’s been a myth for many years,” Marcus replied.

As much as we want to believe everything that comes out of the Bachmanns’ mouths is horse manure, they’ve got their facts right this time.

Kinsey’s “10%” figure has been widely discredited or described as a misinterpretation.

BoxTurtleBulletin, a LGBT news site, explains:

In fact, [Kinsey’s] findings weren’t so clean and straightforward, partly because Kinsey himself disapproved of using clean, dichotomous categories like homosexual or heterosexual to describe individuals. His only concern was sexual behavior, the only measure that he felt was reliable. To help define this behavior, Kinsey created what has become known as the Kinsey scale, which ranked sexual behavior from 0 to 6, with 0 being completely heterosexual and 6 completely homosexual. X’s were assigned to those who were asexual or sexually inexperienced.

In Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Kinsey reported that 37% of the men had at least one homosexual experience. As for the famous “ten percent” figure, it was only one of several statistics that Kinsey cited on the incidence of homosexuality.

Those stats include that 13% of the population has more homosexual leanings than heterosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.

10% of the males are more or less exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55. (Gee, interview inmates and you find out they’ve had almost exclusively gay sex for at least three years. Shocking!)

8% of the males are exclusively homosexual for at least three years between the ages of 16 and 55.

4% of the white males are exclusively homosexual throughout their lives after the onset of adolescence.

While it’s still groundbreaking for putting forth the idea that sexuality was a perfectly acceptable subject to conduct credible scientific research on, Kinsey’s report used sampling and reporting methods that were severely flawed. (He was a entomologist, after all, not a pollster.) His pool of interviewees draw heavily from Indiana, for example, and he favored professionals age 35 and under. Given the uptight era he was working in, Kinsey had to seek out gays—at Mattachine Society meetings, gay bars and prisons. Not exactly a random sample.

So the Bachmanns know their Kinsey. That doesn’t give them license to discriminate against the LGBT community. Human rights is not a numbers game: Even using the most conservative estimates, there are more gays and lesbians in America than Jews. Should Jews not be allowed to marry, serve in the military or teach in schools? (We’re afraid to even ask that question to some people in the Bachmann camp.)

Most perplexing, though, is why the Bachmanns are trying to downplay the number of gay people. Without plenty of us, how else will Bachmann line his coffers treat confused souls at his reparative therapy center?


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  • Jonas

    I believe that LGBT people make up 15% to 20% of the population!

  • Atlas

    If you count closet cases, that would probably get us up to 10% easily.

  • david

    It’s not even 4%. Where are all the gay men then if it’s higher? Most cities of millions have, at most, a handful of bars, a couple of bath houses, the same tired old faces at cruising areas, and the same people online. There is only one gay true news website in all of America, only one gay TV channel, only a handful of gay blogs worth mentioning. Yes, our friends and allies do come out by the tens of thousands at Pride, but they are not gay. The hard truth is we’re only about 2%, but we still have rights to equality. The Jew comparison is apt. My Jewish friend jokes every town has the same number of synagogues as gay clubs.

  • jason

    The wonderful thing about Kinsey’s research is that it was conducted in a very conservative era where homosexuality was punishable by jail time. If anything, Kinsey under-estimated, not over-estimated, the number of men with same-sex desires.

    Another wonderful thing about Kinsey’s research is that it was conducted pre-porn. There was no commercial porn industry as there is today. Therefore, there was none of this bisexual double standard that is pushed by the modern porn industry – ie that all women can be bisexual but all men must be straight.

    This double standard of sexuality is pushed by the “straight” side of the porn industry, and helps to distort human sexuality in a way that discriminates against male-male sexuality. It leads to false and damaging perceptions in the general public.

    One of my criticisms of modern sexuality studies is that many of them use porn in their methodologies. It leads to erroneous conclusions about the human sexual experience. This occurs because the researchers responsible for these studies are assuming that voyeurism equates to experience.

  • joec

    Well that can’t be right; at least 50% of the people I know are gay. :P

  • timncguy

    If the Bachmanns are right in their assertion and you agree with them, why do you call it “low balling” in your headline?

  • rf

    Most gay and bi people are still hiding in straight relationships and other closets, exhibit A see above. My guess is that the percentage of totally gay people is something like 5% to maybe 10% but the percent of bisexuals is closer to 50%. We won’t have anything close to a true estimate until the stigma of being gay is gone. I’m sure Ted Haggard doesn’t check the gay box on population surveys.

  • kylew

    As long as the cultural climate in which such a survey is conducted demonises homosexuality, you’ll never get anything like an accurate figure. Many gay men cannot even admit TO THEMSELVES that they are homosexual, let alone to a survey.

    There are sooo many reasons why the Kinsey report is not an accurate depiction of modern sexuality, that it is almost as much use as pointing to ancient greek behaviour and claiming the pedophilia is the norm.

    I own it, and the Hite report on male sexuality, and both are entertaining insights into sexuality at the time, but just as self-measure penis size survey respondants notoriously over-estimate, so too do sexuality survey respondants paint a picture of themselves that fits with their preferred self image, not the absolute truth.

    Simply providing gay men with the “get out clause” of being on a scale of gayness, immediately makes it likely that many respondants will have chosen to paint themselves as partially straight, when in fact they were not.

  • José

    For some reason, the previous post is not giving out the entire website, so that when you click on it, an error message displays: go to and type williams institute number of LGBT

  • david

    The Kinsey report was not accurate nor scientific. But the latest British survey on sexuality was, and only 1.5% of men classified themselves as gay. England is hardly a difficult society to be gay in. Bottom line – less than 5% of men are gay just as Queerty says. But the true number is even lower.

  • ~R~

    sorry, but any report, survey, or study in the field of sexuality can be considered inaccurate because they will never get information from everyone and those that do report may have reservations about labeling their sexual orientation. It may not be as bad now as it was then, but there are still those that remain closeted, even to themselves. Kinsey offered a revolutionary step in the right direction but his work and others’ work later should not be taken as factual and concrete because the information is not complete and subject to many, many barriers. There may be no way of determing what percentage of the actual population is gay but that really shouldn’t matter anyway, yes?

  • David Ehrenstein

    Th Bachmanns don’t know shit and neither do you. Kinsey was right.

    And I’m a 6, by the way.

  • Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

    I’ve always suspected that the Kinsey and similar numbers are overstating the numbers. My own suspicions are that less than 1% are gay and out, and possibly another 1-2% are closeted and a further 1-2% are gay-biased bisexuals for a total of approximately 4 or 5% of the cross-sectional national population if-that. Certainly not the 1-in-10 claimed by many activists.

    Just look at the size of the even gay-friendly cities, and compare the number of gay bars or meeting places with the size of their overall populations. States like my own New Jersey have 18-million residents, and we barely support three…maybe five…gay local bars in the whole state outside of the Summer Shore gayborhoods. The Philadelphia-Delaware Valley metropolitan area has over 6-1/2 million, and maybe 12 gay bars? Where I live, It’s an hour’s drive in three differnet-directions to the closest gay bar, and two are PA.

    If we were anywhere near 8 to 10%, there would be gay-catering bars or gay-friendly bars scattered all-over.

  • Danny

    @Ted B. (Charging Rhino): While I don’t profess to know the accurate percentage of homos in our world, I do believe that the number of gay bars is not a good indicator. I, my partner, and several of our gay friends do not go out to gay bars. Some of us did when we were younger, but your theory would require that all gay people attend gay bars on a somewhat regular basis, and I know for a fact that is not the case.

  • Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

    Agreed, bars aren’t the best measure, but even 1-in-100 of the 1% go to the bars in Philly that’s 6750 which would probably fill most of the Philly bars to capacity.

  • randy

    @rf: I agree. Heck, even my mother thought that 30% of all men are gay or at least bisexual!

    Look — I’ve known plenty of people in my life, and I’ve met or known lots of straight guys who check out other guys, gasp when a gorgeous man enters the room, or otherwise betray their hidden desires in many ways. I spent my first 30 years hiding the fact that I was gay being closeted, so yeah, I know all the tricks you do to try hiding your desires.

    If you were to able to gauge the number of men who have wanted to kiss Tom Cruise, or grab Hugh Jackman’s ass, or play with Brad Pitt’s nipples, the numbers would be much further north of 10% than anyone would be comfortable with.

  • Art

    The 1 to 6 scale is very accurate, but how many are Lgbt is up in the air because of the closet. Also even out gay people, if you call them to ask if they are gay… Will say no. Making surveys unreliable. I suspect what ever the number from a survey, you would have to double it.

  • Jason

    Who cares if we’re 2% or 20% of the population?

    Even if there was only one gay man on earth, these two grifters have no business spewing their bilous venom against him.

  • WillBFair

    This is old news. So fine. Kinsey was wrong here. And estimating our numbers is still very difficult. For example, how can any model take the closet into account? I go to a social group of older queens, and most of them were married for 20 or 30 or 40 years. How can a survey tally such people?
    But none of this really matters. Our numbers are less important than the fact that we’re humans and deserve fair treatment. Period.

  • sunonthehorizon

    Just a minor technical point: The title’s use of the word ‘lowball’ is incorrect. Lowball as a verb means: to offer a deceptively or unrealistically low estimate, bid, etc. However, if you suggest they are correct, then it cannot be, in effect, ‘deceptive’ or ‘unrealistic’ it would be just simply accurate. The use of lowball usually is concomitant of an attempt to fool someone or ‘pull the wool over one’s eyes’.

  • Jonathonz

    I agree that the number of gay bars are not a good indicator of the number of actual gays in any particular city. There’s only a very loose correlation between the two figures. As far as I know Kinsey’s studies were the last studies to take on the number of surveys that he accomplished. He did hundreds of thousands of them. That’s what is needed to find out the real numbers involved in the percentage of gays in the population at large. Until that happens Kinsey’s studies are the BEST information we have and I suspect that the numbers would be VERY close to what Kinsey found. His studies were that good.

  • MikeE

    by the way, Kinsey may have specialized in entomology – having been fascinated by it all his life – but his studies were in biology AND psychology. he wasn’t “just an entomologist”. The way you word it makes it sound like he’s a dentist trying to do a plumber’s work.

  • Mike

    @Ted B. (Charging Rhino): Surprising at how few gay bars there are in Philadelphia. In New Orleans I believe the last count was at 20. In Arkansas, discounting the gay haven of Eureka Springs, I believe there are nine gay bars in the state. Or a bar for every third of a million people. ;)

  • owen

    @Ted B. (Charging Rhino):Um I live in Philly and if you count the gay bars, the gay restaurants, the gay coffee shops, and then include in the gay friendly bars, the gay friendly restaurants, and gay friendly other types (like coffee shops, and so on) you are well over 40. And that was just counting out with my co worker in the last 5 mins. True the Gayborhood only has a few bars/clubs but from being a gay man living in Philly, only a minority of the gay population goes to the gayborhood on any kind of regular basis. Living in Philly is much more relaxed in a lot of areas, why would I go to the bar in center city, pay triple the cost for a drink when I can walk around the corner to the blue collar bar and shoot the sh*t with several different people of various backgrounds and orientations at a fraction of the cost? Now if I want to clubbing and party like a rock star I would go down town… Long story short your number of 6750 would be swallowed by these different establishments and still look like they could hold more, luckily there are always the straight bachelorette parts to fill up the space…

  • Chipsy

    Is there any reason to believe that straight people are more likely to go to bars than gay people? If not, the ratio of straight bars to gay bars is a good measure.

    The 10% figure is just shit gay guys say.

  • jason

    I would say that the number of men with same-sex feelings is about 90%. This includes men who have same-sex feelings combined with opposite-sex feelings. Most straight-identifying guys have same-sex feelings.

    Keep in mind that the words “gay” and “straight” are terms of politics rather than realities. It’s become fashionable in the last 40 years to divide yourself on the basis of how you prefer to be categorized. Nature, as opposed to fashion, doesn’t deal in categories when it comes to sexuality.

    Take home message of the day: most men are highly sexed creatures who have feelings for both genders. Society mandates categories in order to keep the high sex drive of men at bay. The categories are heavily weighted in favor of straight-identification because women cannot cope with the idea of men as highly sexed, bisexual animals.

  • JDSwell


    Yeah, because the judge of how many gay folks are in a town can be judged by how many gay bars exist. I haven’t been in a gay bar in well over a year, guess I can’t be counted anymore.

    I don’t know what the correct number is, but it shouldn’t matter. We should have our rights whether it is 1 out of 1000 or 100 out of 1000.

  • david

    You are seriously dreaming if you think that hot guy walking down the street with his arm around a woman is secretly miserable and really just wants to suck your dick. Kinsey was wrong, and no research since the 1950’s has come close to saying 10% of men have any sexual desire for the same gender. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t been to a gay bar in 20 years. It’s not about you – it’s about the population at large. The ratio of businesses catering to men who have sex with men to heterosexual activity is tiny – not even 2%. And that’s about all the gay men there are. The male sex drive is such a powerful force. Do you really think there are a million gay men in New Jersey hiding in the closet, afraid to come out? I detest the way gay activists counter lies from our enemies with more lies. We are 2% – now deal with it.

  • michael

    Give me a flying flipping break. Any sexually attractive gay man can tell you most men, as in about 80%, are cruise-able. If being straight caused a man to get called a [email protected] then only 3% would claim to be heterosexual. I am over this self reproting number. The last CDC survey went around to people’s houses to ask them which is insane. There have been two different surveys on Topix where only 20% of men claim to be 100% straight. This u have to be one way or the other stance by most is bull.

  • Tiffany Jett

    Numbers accounting for the estimated number of LGBT persons, will never be accurately defined. Various factors e.g. Governments not wanting accuracy in reported LGBT persons, LGBT persons not wanting to be identified, the very limiting definition of LGBT itself for those who see themselves as unidentifiable or as something else altogether.

    The 10 percent and below range is generally thrown about towards anything that’s in a minority, that isn’t favored; everything from red haired individuals, left-handed people, men over 6 feet tall and those with blue eyes; the list goes on and on.

    If the gathering of information of numbers for the percentages listed above seem irrelevant, it’s because they are. The idea that gay’s or any other minority seek out a value of themselves based on having strength in numbers, be they substantial or minuscule further helps to promulgate the beliefs of those who prefer the number, actual or estimated to be as small as possible.

  • david

    If gays want respect and equality then it’s time to stop pretending the whole world wants to suck your dick. It’s that attitude that got Lawrence King killed. Activists that claim 10%, even people in this board claiming 20, even 80%(!) are into the same gender just makes you look stupid and desperate. The male sex drive is incredibly powerful. Almost nothing can stop two men from fucking if that’s what both want. It doesn’t happen between 95% of the male population because they simply aren’t interested, even when naked together in a shower room. The thought doesn’t even cross their minds. The real world is not a porn video.

  • jason

    Most men would do each other if it weren’t so stigmatized by society. The stigma was invented so as to keep male-male sexuality at bay. Our ancestors understood that male sexuality was a very powerful force and needed to be controlled through institutions such as marriage and the stigma against male-male erotic interactions.

    This is why the Bible specifically prohibited male homosexuality, not female homosexuality. The writers of the Bible understood the power of male sexuality and the need to control it. There was no need to curtail female sexuality because female sexuality is relatively passive and completely receptive.

  • Cam

    @david: said. “It’s not even 4%. Where are all the gay men then if it’s higher? ”

    Gee, what a shock….maybe you’ve never heard of a little thing called “The Closet”.

  • Jeff

    On the Kinsey scale 0=straight and 6=gay/lesbian but 1-5 are what consists of bisexuality. I like Kinsey and his research but he interviewed bisexual and gay men, men in prisons, and when you’re asking both of those groups of people if they’ve had sex with men or sexual attraction to men you’re going to get large numbers. I don’t think that only 4% of the population consists of gay men, it’s more 5-10%, and bisexuals compromise the highest percentage out of anyone that’s LGBT, and some bisexuals do pretend to be “straight” but there are also a lot of bisexuals who because of biphobia pretend to be “gay”.

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