San Francisco: Online searches by users on Google for phrases questioning their own sexuality and gender identity, including ‘Am I gay’ and ‘Am I lesbian’, skyrocketed by 1,300 per cent since 2004, a new report has shown.
The findings published by the market research firm Cultural Currents Institute collected Google Trends data from January 2004 to this month for questions related to sexual orientation and gender identity across the US.
Among the five search terms considered — ‘Am I gay’, ‘Am I lesbian’, ‘Am I trans’, ‘How to come out’, and ‘Nonbinary’ — a significant upward trend is observed across the US.
According to the report, Utah, a state with traditionally ‘conservative social values’, tops three out of five search term categories — ‘Am I gay’, ‘Am I lesbian’, and ‘Am I trans’ since last May.
“This might indicate a significant underlying questioning of identity among its Internet users, possibly driven by the conflict between personal feelings and societal expectations,” the report said.
“These tensions between public life and web searches are common in Utah, where we recently shared data indicating that searches for ‘VPN’ surged after the website PornHub blocked the state,” it added.
Moreover, the report mentioned that Oklahoma had the highest search volume for the phrase ‘How to come out’ in the previous year, followed by West Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Kentucky.
Kentucky ranked second-lowest in the four categories that measured equality.
The report further added that the historical search volume for the term ‘Nonbinary’ was limited but gaining search traction. Since last May, Vermont has had the highest search volume for the term.