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This Is How Many People Now Identify As Bisexual In The UK

Photo: SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images.
The number of young people who identify as bisexual has overtaken the number who describe themselves as gay or lesbian for the first time, according to new statistics.

The number of people defining themselves as bisexual has soared by 45% in the last three years, up from 230,000 in 2012 to 334,000 in 2015, the Office For National Statistics (ONS) found.

Among the 16 to 24 age group, 1.8% said they were bisexual, overtaking the number who identified as gay or lesbian (1.5%), suggesting many young people prefer to view sexuality as a spectrum rather than a black-or-white issue.

A separate survey by YouGov last year found that nearly half (49%) of British 18 to-24-year-olds identified as something other than "100% heterosexual", compared to 23% of the general population.

A total of 3.3% of young people therefore described themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB), far higher than 1.7% of the general population who identified in this way. Just 0.6% of people ages 65 and over said they were LGB.

The true figure is likely to be higher, however, because of the self-report method used in official research and people not wanting to disclose their sexual identity.

Benjamin Cohen, chief executive of PinkNews, said: “More and more young people are willing to admit that their sexual orientation fluctuates; that they can be attracted to someone of the same sex or someone of the opposite sex and that there is no inherent contradiction in that," reported The Telegraph.

“To some that may mean they label themselves as bisexual or as pansexual."

He said people may have ignored those feelings twenty years ago but now, "because of the changing society, if you are attracted to someone you can take action."

Celebrities who identify as bisexual or pansexual have also been influential, Cohen said, such as Miley Cyrus. “Those people, who are role models to young people, give them the confidence to label themselves in that way,” he added.

The ONS figures also showed London to be the LGB capital, with the highest proportion (2.6%) describing themselves in this way. By contrast, just 1.2% described themselves as LGB in the east of England.

Overall, more men identified themselves as LGB (2%) than women (1.5%). Around 0.4% said their sexual identity was "other" and 4.1% either didn't answer or said they didn't know their sexual identity.