How much of the population is gay? The conservative right has an interest in discrediting the significance of our population and will often say 1-2%. Most recently, the American Family Association of Indiana has been using a figure of 4%, a figure that may discount gays who are not active in relationships but who nevertheless know themselves to be gay. GLBT activists who cite a figure above 10%, on the other hand, group together all those who have same-sex attractions, whether or not they identify as gay.
This morning I stumbled upon a figure that is not vested with any agenda. Buried in the Wall Street Journal, in an article about gay television networks, was a statistic that seems highly credible. "The most obvious audience is gay, lesbian and bisexual viewers. Some 6% to 7% of American Adults identify themselves as being in one of those groups, according to research by Witeck-Combs Communications and Harris Interactive."
I note that many adult gays (over the age of 18, say) in their early 20's are still struggling to identify their orientation, so though eventually identifying as gay, would not necessarily have done it in such a poll. Also, depending how surveys are administered, in a judgemental world in which little civil rights protections exist, many gays will decline to identify themselves as such. 6% - 7% therefore strikes me as the likely floor, with the actual figure somewhat higher.
Consequently, how many are we? At least 6-7%, according to Harris interactive, and probably more.