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​More people coming out on Facebook than ever before

In the past year, about 800,000 Americans came out on Facebook.

New data from the social network shows that since last October, there has been a steadily rising rate of people updating their profiles to express attraction to the same or both genders, announce a same-sex relationship, or redefine their genders.

Facebook added the option to create a custom gender in February 2014 to allow people to define themselves outside binary male-female distinctions.

The new data, released Thursday, tracked how many users have come out since National Coming Out Day (Oct. 11) 2014.

"Not only has the total number of Americans who have come out on Facebook risen dramatically, but so has the number coming out each day," Facebook said on its research blog. "The number of people on Facebook coming out per day is on track to be three times what it was a year ago."

A chart of how many people come out daily (expressed as a percentage of how many came out on National Coming Out Day last year) shows the growth. A clear spike is visible following the Supreme Court decision on Obergefell v. Hodges on June 26.


On a typical day, one in 10 people on Facebook changes their "interested in" status, which indicates what gender they are attracted to. On the day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriages, the figure doubled.

"Facebook's research is proving just what a difference visibility makes to LGBT people," said Jay Brown, director of research and public education at Human Rights Campaign Foundation. "In a year that's seen unprecedented coverage of LGBT people -- from major coming out moments to Supreme Court victories to tragedies shaking the community -- we see people becoming visible in their own lives."

The map below shows the percentage by state of active Facebook users who identify as gay or bisexual or who use a custom gender. New York and Nevada are highest, around 4 percent. Wyoming and several Southern states rank lowest, around 2 percent.

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