TIME

Why Uncle Sam wants to know how many LGBT people are in America

Counting LGBT Americans could spur changes in health care, military policies and more

FOR CENTURIES, BEING LESBIAN, gay, bisexual or transgender in America meant hiding at least part of who you were. The stigma traces as far back as the colonial era, when sodomy was a capital crime. The culture has shifted over time, and recent decades have brought a rapid social transformation. Today, as the LGBT population moves into its full and equal place in public life, more officials are asking an old question with new urgency: Just how many LGBT Americans are there?

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from TIME

TIME2 min read
An Updated Tales Proves You Can Go Home Again
EACH EPISODE OF TALES OF THE CITY CLOSES ON A SHOT OF the rainbow flag, which almost feels a little on the nose—until it doesn’t. The Netflix miniseries is a sequel to the earlier television adaptations of Armistead Maupin’s novels about the intersec
TIME13 min read
The Window For Justice May Be Closing
These former boy scouts say the organization’s sex-abuse problem is worse than anyone knew.
TIME1 min readFood & Wine
Leah Chase
WHEN SHE MADE ROUX FOR HER SHRIMP-AND-SAUSAGE GUMBO (1 cup peanut oil and 8 tbsp. flour) in her joyfully elegant restaurant in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans, Leah Chase, who died on June 1 at age 96, stirred very slowly with her wooden spoon