Do gay people come out to pollsters before their families? It appears so.

The Washington Post
By Hunter Schwarz
July 13, 2015

The story of LGBT issues in the United States is a story that’s been told frequently through poll numbers. There’s the fast-rising support for same-sex marriage, alongside the growing percentage of Americans who believe sexual orientation is something people are born with.

But also on the rise has been the percentage of people who know someone who’s gay or lesbian. In 1985, about a quarter had a friend, relative, or co-worker who told them personally that he or she was gay. By 2013, that number had tripled to 75 percent.

LGBT rights are issues that have been driven in part by the personal; people know someone who is gay, and frequently that’s reflected in how they feel about the issues. The jump between 2009, when 58 percent of Americans knew someone close who came out to them, and 2013, when 75 percent did, correlated neatly with a rise in support for same-sex marriage, from 40 percent to 54 percent.

But in some cases, pollsters knew someone was gay even before their family did.

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