The LGBT community in Central Missouri is a vibrant and diverse group of individuals who have faced discrimination and exclusion throughout history. Despite this, they have worked hard to create an inclusive and supportive environment for all members of their community. In recent years, the number of LGBT individuals has grown significantly, particularly among younger generations. According to recent estimates, approximately 21% of Generation Z Americans who have reached adulthood identify as LGBT, which is nearly double the proportion of millennials doing so.
This trend is expected to continue as more members of Generation Z reach adulthood. Overall, 57% of LGBT Americans identify as bisexual, 21% as gay, 14% as lesbian, 10% as transgender, and 4% as something else. Bisexuals are much more likely to marry or live with partners of a different sex than with partners of the same sex. Women are much more likely than men to identify as bisexual, while men are more likely to identify as gay than bisexual.
In addition to the increase in LGBT identification, there is also greater acceptance and legal protection for LGBT individuals in the United States. This includes an additional 8% of the state's population being protected against discrimination based on gender identity in private employment, housing or public accommodations. The mobilization of the LGBT community was an important positive response to the AIDS epidemic, and the structures created in response to the disease continue to exist today. This includes organizations dedicated to meeting the health and social needs of LGBT people, as well as working with foundations and corporations to access funding for addressing the epidemic.
In the 21st century, Missouri's LGBTQ community has worked hard to be more inclusive, bringing together people from different racial, ethnic, and class backgrounds and providing support to youth, older people, veterans, and people with varying abilities. As LGBTQ identity began to take shape in the past century, veiled references in diaries or letters, police reports, records of social work organizations, and legal documents give us an idea of the experiences of LGBTQ people in navigating a society that excluded and even criminalized their community. With these caveats in mind, this section summarizes what is known from the limited data available on the demographic characteristics of LGBT populations in Central Missouri. While an extensive discussion of the history of LGBT populations is beyond the scope of this report, this section highlights some key historical issues relevant to the current health status of LGBT people.