The number of British people defining themselves as “bisexual” has jumped by 45 per cent in just three years, according new official estimates.
For the first time, more young people in the UK describe themselves as bisexual than gay or lesbian combined, the figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
It is the latest evidence pointing to a shift in attitudes towards sexuality, with increasing numbers viewing their own position as somewhere on a spectrum rather than it being a black-or-white question.
A survey by YouGov published last year found that half of young people, and almost a quarter of the population overall, define themselves as something other than 100 per cent heterosexual.
The overall numbers identified by the official estimates are still very small.
Just 1.7 per cent of the population identified themselves as lesbian, gay or bisexual in the ONS’s Annual Population Survey (APS) – although LGBT groups have long argued that official research, by its very nature, is likely to significantly underestimate the true level.
Nevertheless, the ONS said the 45 per cent rise was clearly statistically significant.
Overall it estimates that the number of people in the UK openly identifying as bisexual jumped from 230,000 in 2012 to 334,000 at the time of the most recent population survey carried out last year.
By contrast, the number defined as gay or lesbian rose by a more modest 8.3 per cent in that time to 586,000.
A further 206,000 were classed as “other” and the equivalent of 2.2 million refused to answer or said they did not know their sexual identity. Source