Exclusion of the minority

Brittany JordanA couple weeks ago, I wrote a column about platonic male and female relationships, and how they cannot exist. Apparently, based on comments, I should have specified that heterosexual men and women cannot be friends.

I was immediately admonished for not accounting for the GLBTQ population. When I went back to reflect on why this was, I realized that when writing about relationships, it never even crossed my mind to account for those that don’t identify as heterosexual.

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Before we jump to false conclusions, this is not because I am homophobic. In fact, I’m far from it. You love who you love; that has nothing to do with me, and it’s far from my place to tell you otherwise. But because homosexuality or bisexuality or gender confusion does not affect me in my daily life, it never occurred to me to account for that population.

And for that, I apologize; my intent was never to exclude readers. That was an oversight on my part and I am sorry.

However, based on the comments received, you would think that an astronomical number of people identify as gay. If that was the case, I could understand the outrage. I could understand why people would be upset if I excluded a huge chunk of the population.

Except that’s not the case.

Based on the 2011 Gallup poll, the vast majority of Americans thought that 25 percent of the population of the United States identified as being gay. In this case, the vast majority was terribly wrong.

In an article on The Huffington Post, Gary Gates, a demographer at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy, wanted to answer the question of exactly how many people view themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

The results may surprise you.

Only 1.7 percent of the 18-and-over population identifies as gay or lesbian. 1.8 percent identifies as bisexual and 0.8 percent of adults identify as transgender. Add that up, and that comes to a grand total of 3.5 percent of the population making up the GLBTQ community.

Based on these numbers, I took another look at my friends list. I went through every one of my Facebook “friends” and every contact listed in my phone. Of those approximately 500 people, only one is openly gay.

Going off of that knowledge, is it my fault that I didn’t specifically mention them in my column about relationships? With close to 95 percent of relationships being comprised of heterosexuals, I feel that it’s safe to assume that I was indeed addressing the majority.

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What startles me is how big of a voice this small percentage of people has. Everyone knows of or has been a part of the debate of same-sex marriage. We have been led to believe that it’s a much larger issue than it actually is.

While it may be startling to some of you that I only know one homosexual person, statistics are on my side. Homosexuality is not as prevalent as many Americans think.

My commenters have been relying on many ad-hominem fallacies when attempting to show how my argument — that men and women cannot be “just friends” — is invalid.

However, calling me closed-minded because I neglected to mention the GLBTQ community is simply inaccurate. My failure to specify that I was speaking of heterosexuality doesn’t make me closed-minded or homophobic; it makes me a writer speaking to approximately 95 percent of my readers, which is an overwhelming majority.

So is it absolutely necessary for me to address every minority out there? Or can we all agree that my primary audience is all that I need to specify?

Just because homosexuality may be a part of your everyday conversation, that is not necessarily the case for others. As a writer, my statements are not going to apply to everyone; eventually, majority kicks in.

Based on the media input, the GLBTQ community has a very large voice, even though they are comprised of a very small amount of people. And more power to them. But because it is not a part of my everyday conversation, it hasn’t come up in my columns either.