Many, if not most, LGBT people need to use birth control. Let me break down why that is, from a statistical point of view. First, let's look at the LGB portion of our community. Study after study -- from UCLA's Williams Institute, to the HRC, to the Pew Research Center -- prove that 50 percent of people who identify as either lesbian, gay, or bi, identify as bi. So, half of the LGB population is B.
It's not a stretch of the imagination to say that bisexuals, at least sometimes, have a need for birth control, based on the fact that we, at least sometimes, have sex in ways that could result in pregnancy.
So that's half of the group.
What about gays and lesbians, our "other half"? Well, there again, we turn to the research. Studies show that most lesbians (some studies showing as many as 90 percent) have had sex with men, many even after coming out as lesbian. Ever heard the term "gold star lesbian"? A gold star is a woman who has never been with a man. The fact that such a term exists points to the community's unspoken understanding that not being with men is rare. Lots of lesbians have sex with men. Let's not pretend that's not happening.
Ditto with gay men. There isn't as much research on this, but I have seen the stat that about 60 percent of men who identify as gay have been with women. Not all of this hetero-sex is happening before coming out. Some of it continues afterwards. And why wouldn't it? Women are sexy! And gay men, for the most part, are not unaware of that, despite what some might have you think. (Ahem, Andrew Sullivan.)
As LGBT people, if there's one thing we know, it's that bodies can be sources of pleasure. That's all bodies, including ones that some of us call "opposite sex." I can't speak for the monosexuals among us, but I'm sure it's safe to say that we're not oblivious to that fact.
So, among the LGB, the vast majority of us have, at least sometimes, sex that could be procreative. I'm talking about penis-in-vagina stuff here, people. Let's get real. And let's really talk about it.
Then there's the T in LGBT. Transgender people -- like people in general -- have sexualities. Duh. And sometimes those sexualities include a desire for people whose bodies could get pregnant by or impregnate them. For example, a pre-op or non-op transwoman dating a cisgender woman. A pre-op or non-op gay transman whose lovers are mostly cisgender. Not everyone has surgery; not everyone can afford surgery; not everyone wants surgery.
At this point, I hope it's clear why I'm saying that many if not most LGBT need to use birth control. It's because we're having potentially-procreative sex.
But here's what we're not having: conversations. When was the last time you asked your lesbian BFF what kind of birth control she uses? Your gay neighbor if any of his female lovers are on the pill? Your bisexual bowling league buddies... well, anything p-in-v related whatsoever? (Nobody wants to talk to us bi folks about p-in-v!) Your trans brother about whether or not he is using a diaphragm before he heads down to the local gay bar to pick up dudes?
I'm 39. I've been out for 25 years, and I've been an LGBT activist since college (so about 21 years). Happy anniversary to me! I have never not once ever had one of these conversations. And I spend a lot of time talking to you all.
Seven years ago, I co-authored a book on bisexual health. Since then, I've spoken about my research everywhere from the White House to Harvard to Stanford Medical School to Microsoft. I've been on CNN and been interviewed in Cosmo. I've talked about health, including sexual health, with thousands of people at over a hundred events across the country.
But I've never talked about or been asked about birth control. What's that about? Is it that you all are talking about it behind my back? When I come in the room, do all the lesbians run out into the hallway to discuss their IUDs, and I just miss the conversation?
Or is this a conversation that none of us are having?
And if so, why aren't we? It's not like we're shy about talking with each other about sex. Please! When was the last time you had a conversation with an LGBT friend that went something like this: "OMG, after we left the club, we [did this] and [this] and [this]! And that was all before we even got back to my place. The cab driver seemed pissed! But, we gave him a big tip, so hopefully he wasn't too mad. Then, when we got in the door, we..."
You know you've had that conversation. Because you've had it with me. So I'm sure you're having it with each other. But why aren't we talking about the other stuff? The hetero stuff? The birth-control-requiring stuff?
We need to talk about that stuff with each other, because no one is going to talk about it with us, for us. We need to talk about it because the Hobby Lobby decision isn't something that might impact us in the future, "when they come for us." Let's not bury our heads in the sand. They're already here.
Hobby Lobby is already about us.