For six years, Match has conducted a big survey of singles in America. And for the first time, they’ve done a separate survey of over 1,000 LGBTQ singles, ages 18 to 70. The study looks at when LGBTQ individuals came out, how much sex they’re having, who should pay for dates and where they’re meeting those dates.
Among the findings, three stand out: Survey participants were split nearly 50-50 on whether they want to marry, whether they want kids and whether they would date someone who’s transgender.
According to the study, released almost a year after the Supreme Court’s decision upholding same-sex marriage throughout the United States, younger people are more enthusiastic about marriage than older survey participants. Sixty-two percent of millennial respondents said they’ve always wanted to marry; 20 percent are ambivalent; and 18 percent were never interested in marriage. Among Gen X singles (ages 35 to 49), 57 percent have always wanted to marry; 19 percent are ambivalent; and 25 percent are uninterested. For those who are 50 and older, 50 percent have always wanted to marry; the rest are ambivalent or uninterested. Forty-eight percent of younger LGBTQ singles, the study found, are interested in having kids.
Nearly half the LGBTQ population in the United States identifies as single, says Justin Garcia, a scientific adviser for Match who worked on the study. The vast majority of them (80 percent) are seeking committed relationships, he said. But he noted that the skepticism around marriage mirrors the same diminishing interest in marriage among heterosexuals.
The study highlights that the fight for marriage equality was about equality, Garcia said, and not necessarily about whether or not people needed a political institution to formalize their romantic relationships. “For many LGBTQ people, there’s a resistance to the institutionalization of relationships — given the fact they’ve have had to navigate relationships without that institution for so long.”
Another deep split in the survey was over dating someone who’s transgender. The Match survey found that those who are transgender are the most likely (65 percent) to date online. Less than half of LGBTQ singles (47 percent) are willing to date someone who is transgender, while 44 percent said they would consider it — a finding that surprised Garcia. “I thought more people would be open to dating someone who’s transgender,” he said. “It was a good reminder that gender operates in very complicated ways; people are attracted to very specific things.”
For some, he said, that lack of openness is an issue of acceptance, Garcia said. “For others, it’s because they’re committed to certain forms of masculinity and femininity in their romantic and erotic interests.”
He also noted that difficulty in dating is one of the little factors — along with other stumbling blocks, such as discrimination in the job market — that add up to make transgender individuals feel stigmatized or isolated. And that kind of isolation is present “even within a group that people would presume is more accepting,” he said.