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He was the lead singer of the alternative rock band R. Lance Bass age 39 James Lance Bass is an American pop singer, dancer, actor, film and television producer, and author. He grew up in Mississippi and rose to fame as the bass singer for the American pop boy band Have many of them moved to more tolerant areas? Some have, but Facebook data show that mobility can explain only a small fraction of the difference in the totally out population. I searched gay and straight men by state of birth and state of current residence. This information is available only for a subset of Facebook users.

Where the Closet Is Still Common

Some gay men do move out of less tolerant states, but this effect is small. I estimate that the openly gay population would be about 0. The percent of male high school students who identify themselves as gay on Facebook is also much lower in less tolerant areas.

Because high school students are less mobile than adults, this suggests that a gay exodus from these areas is not a large factor. We can approach the question of whether intolerant areas actually have fewer gay men another way, too, by estimating the percent of searches for pornography that are looking for depictions of gay men. I used anonymous, aggregate data from Google. The advantage of this data source, of course, is that most men are making these searches in private.

Women search, too, but in much smaller numbers.

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While tolerant states have a slightly higher percentage of these searches, roughly 5 percent of pornographic searches are looking for depictions of gay men in all states. This again suggests that there are just about as many gay men in less tolerant states as there are anywhere else.

Since less tolerant states have similar percentages of gay men but far fewer openly gay men, there is a clear relationship between tolerance and openness. My preliminary research indicates that for every 20 percentage points of support for gay marriage about one-and-a-half times as many men from that state will identify openly as gay on Facebook. In a perfectly tolerant world, my model estimates that about 5 percent of men in the United States would say they were interested in men.

Note that this matches nicely with the evidence from pornographic search data. These results suggest that the closet remains a major factor in American life. For comparison, about 3. In states where the stigma against homosexuality remains strong, many more gay men are in the closet than are out. How deep in the closet are these men? Obviously, it is possible for a gay man not to acknowledge his sexuality to Facebook or surveys but to still have healthy, open same-sex relationships.

But data from Match. This suggests that these men are not only not telling Facebook they are gay but are also not looking for relationships online. Additional evidence that suggests that many gay men in intolerant states are deeply in the closet comes from a surprising source: It turns out that wives suspect their husbands of being gay rather frequently.

The states with the highest percentage of women asking this question are South Carolina and Louisiana. In fact, in 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average. Craigslist lets us look at this from a different angle. Among the states with the highest percentages are Kentucky, Louisiana and Alabama.