American's Coming Out on Facebook

  • Parent Category: News
  • Published: Saturday, 17 October 2015 14:14
  • Written by Jason Scott

In honor of National Coming Out Day (October 11) and #SpiritDay (October 15), this post examines how some highly-public moments for the LGBT community affected support for this movement and the rate at which people came out on Facebook. Examining aggregated, de-identified information about people in the U.S. on Facebook, we look at the total number of people who came out on each day. We define “coming out” as (1) updating one’s profile to express a same-gender attraction or (2) specifying a custom gender.

 facebook coming out plot

(Above) Total number of Americans who have come out on Facebook since National Coming Out Day in 2014. The plot shows the percentage of individuals who came out on Facebook each day as a percentage of those who came out on October 11th, 2014 (National Coming Out Day). For instance, on June 26th 2015 – the day of the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality- the line intersects the y-axis at just above 250%. This indicates that the number of people, in total, who came out on Facebook on this day was roughly 2.5x higher than it was on October 11th of the previous year.

coming out groups

Approximately 5.7 million Americans are fans of at least one of the 300 most popular LGBT pages (this list includes the large organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD or Equality Now, as well as many smaller pages). Above, we plot the numbers of new fans of LGBT-affiliated pages acquired during the past year, normalized against the value on October 11th, 2014.

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