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Alternative lifestyle identification rises sharply at Brown U.

Brown University’s student newspaper reported a sharp rise in alternative lifestyle identification over more than a decade of surveys.

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Alternative lifestyle identification rises sharply at Brown U.

The number of students at Brown University identifying as alternative lifestyle adherents rose to 38 percent, a near record.

Trend in alternative lifestyle identification

The Brown Daily Herald, the student newspaper, reported the findings last month after completing their semi-annual survey of sexuality. But the story apparently had no currency off-campus until yesterday, when the New York Post and Fox News picked it up. The survey results show a steady downtrend in students identifying as heterosexual, a trend that accelerated beginning with the Fall 2019. Alternative lifestyle adherents of various types filled up that gap. At 38 percent, the current level is five times the alleged national rate.

The most popular alternative lifestyle actually is bisexuality, not exclusive homosexuality. In fact, the bisexual fraction of the alternative lifestyle crowd has expanded to dominate this field. Homosexuals, in contrast, have held steady.

Beginning with the Spring 2022 survey, the newspaper offered more options, including a new one called “Questioning.” That and the “Pansexual” option might account for the entire drop in heterosexual self-identifiers. The other options now have almost completely replaced the category of “Other” that many students used before.

This survey reveals two things: a rise in alternative lifestyle adherents at Brown, and a significant excess of them over the national averages. Why this is happening, depends on whom one asks. Josephine Kovecses, a sophomore, attributes the differences to an especially tolerant atmosphere at Brown for alternative sexualities. (In the 1970s, Brown freely allowed male and female students to cohabit, a thing with which Yale College did not experiment to any significant degree until late in that decade.)


An alternative theory

The College Fix reported, over a year ago, on other findings that might shed more light on the Brown findings. They interviewed Eric Kaufman of the University of London, who said alternative lifestyle identification has risen faster than alternative lifestyle behavior.

There are two theories, that greater tolerance is allowing more to come out of the closet, or Bill Maher’s assertion that LGBT is trendy among some youth. I think the second theory better fits the data and explains more of why the rise occurred.

Bill Maher put forth his theory in this segment.

Kaufman illustrated that with specific data showing the divergence in the two trends. The College Fix also provided this link to a more detailed report at the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology. He pointed out one other association: liberals tend to opt for alternative lifestyle identification, and that identification rises with the strength of their liberal beliefs.

In fact alternative lifestyles have always been a feature of civilization and especially of cities. Moreover, prevalence rises with tolerance. Prevalence reached 50 percent in ancient Corinth, perhaps explaining why Paul of Tarsus laid such emphasis on such sin in his two Letters to the new church in that city. In sharp contrast, ancient Rome, at least in Republican days, saw very little of it.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.



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