Google users are more likely to search “Is my husband gay?” in the least tolerant states.
The two states where this search is queried the most are Louisiana and South Carolina.
“In 21 of the 25 states where this question is most frequently asked, support for gay marriage is lower than the national average,” writes Seth Stephens-Davidovitz in his New York Times op-ed.
In the U.S. the word most likely to follow the search “Is my husband…” is “gay.”
“Gay” is 10 percent more common than “cheating”; 10 times more common than “depressed”; and 8 times as common as “an alcoholic.”
States with the highest percentage of Craigslist ads for males seeking “casual encounters” also tends to be much larger in intolerant states. The highest percentage of these ads were found in Alabama, Kentucky, and Louisiana.
Stephens-Davidovitz says this closetedness is the reason it’s so difficult to estimate just how many American men are gay. Historically, he says, it ranges from 2 to 10 percent of the population.
He reviewed data from surveys, dating sites, social networks, and pornographic searches and says at “least 5 percent of American men, I estimate, are predominantly attracted to men, and millions of gay men still live, to some degree, in the closet.”
Using the census, Gallup, and Facebook, he found that openly gay populations are much larger in gay-tolerant states.
“Are there really so many fewer gay men living in less tolerant states? There is no evidence that gay men would be less likely to be born in these states.”
He wondered if these closeted populations were having homosexual relationships behind closed doors, but data from Match.com suggested otherwise.
"There is, in other words, a huge amount of secret suffering in the United States that can be directly attributed to intolerance of homosexuality," he concluded.