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Participants at the 2012 Las Vegas Pride parade (FILE PHOTO: BILL HUGHES)
Participants at the 2012 Las Vegas Pride parade (FILE PHOTO: BILL HUGHES)

For once, Nevada ranks high on a U.S. poll — and no, we're not talking about the dropout rate.

The Silver State is the ninth queerest in the union (which, for the sake of the poll, includes the District of Columbia), according to nearly 1,500 tracking interviews conducted by Gallup in the state (and just over 206,000 nationally) throughout 2012. Approximately 4.2 percent of Nevadans identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. (The margin of error is ±2 percent.)

Not only is that percentage higher than the national average (3.5 percent), but it beats gay-friendly states such as California and Washington (both 4.0 percent) and New York and Illinois (3.8 percent). 

The District of Columbia tops the list at a whopping 10 percent, with Hawaii just below at 5 percent. North Dakota sits at the bottom of the list at 1.7 percent — which makes you wonder how many North Dakotans would publicly admit to being LGBT. 

And therein lies part of the difficulty of conducting such a poll, which Gallup nonetheless hails as the largest-ever study of the gay American population, as well as the only one to date large enough to break down by state. Not only is it difficult to mark the differences between lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals, and measure the gay American population beyond self-identity (meaning a person polled may not be declaring an LGBT status based on their sexual practices), but, Gallup writes, "LGBT people who live in places where they feel accepted may be more likely than those who live in places where they feel stigmatized to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity to a survey interviewer."

The report notes that states with anti-discrimination laws, gay marriage rights and domestic partnership privileges typically boasted a higher percentage of LGBT individuals. In 2009, the Nevada legislature passed a law allowing same-sex couples the right to enter into domestic partnerships. A 2002 constitutional amendment prevents same-sex couples from marrying or recognized as such in Nevada. 

 

 

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