Progressivism, Sexuality, and Mental Illness
Is contemporary liberal-left culture producing greater mental distress?
Will America be entirely gay in a few generations? Will everyone be mentally ill? It would appear so from a straight-line extrapolation of the stunning rise in both LGBT identification and mental illness among young Americans.
Let’s begin with trends in sexual orientation among young people. A recent Gallup survey found that: “Roughly 21% of Generation Z Americans who have reached adulthood—those born between 1997 and 2003—identify as LGBT. That is nearly double the proportion of millennials who do so, while the gap widens even further when compared with older generations.” Abigail Shrier, meanwhile, reports a 1,000-fold increase in trans identification. Reactions to these trends have varied. Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene thinks they indicate that there will be no straight people in a few generations; Bill Maher lampoons the increase as a rebellious fad; and progressives celebrate the rise as an electoral boon for the Democrats. Other liberals view the rise as the product of increasing toleration, similar to left-handedness, in which identification increases as stigmas are lifted and people come out of the closet.
Eric Kaufmann is professor of politics at Birkbeck College, University of London and an adjunct fellow of the Manhattan Institute.
This piece originally appeared in Quillette