(OPINION) Google searches related to personal sexual orientation and gender identity have skyrocketed since 2004, according to new research. The Cultural Currents Institute released an analysis that explored Google searches from 2004 to this month that included searches for questions such as “am I gay”, “am I lesbian”, “am I trans” and “how to come out”, as well as searches for “nonbinary.”

The new analysis found that searches for these phrases jumped by more than 1,300 percent during that period. The analysis suggested that states that lean more conservative are the “most closeted,” with Utah leading the country in searches for “am I gay,” “am I lesbian” and “am I trans.”

Iowa, Indiana, West Virginia and New Hampshire followed Utah in searches for “am I gay,” while Connecticut, Kentucky, Washington and Colorado followed it for searches for “am I lesbian.”


“The regional differences highlighted below are significant, offering a geographical landscape of self-questioning and discovery across America,” the analysis reads.

“Utah, a state with traditionally conservative social values, surprisingly tops three out of five search term categories. This might indicate a significant underlying questioning of identity among its internet users, possibly driven by the conflict between personal feelings and societal expectations.”

States that followed Utah for searches in “am I trans” included Kentucky, Colorado, Michigan and Washington. Oklahoma led the nation with the query “how to come out,” and was followed by West Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky. Vermont led the country in searching for the term “nonbinary.”

Perhaps the most poignant, the term “how to come out”, could indicate a more challenging environment for self-disclosure of identity. The highest search volumes for this term are found in: Oklahoma, West Virginia, Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky.

The term “am I nonbinary?” did not have sufficient data for Google to provide results, which is why the authors chose to present the data simply for “nonbinary”. For the term “nonbinary”, a term less explored historically but gaining traction recently, the top states tend to be more politically and socially progressive. Namely: Vermont, Oregon, Maine, Montana and Washington.


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