UC Berkeley Pride quantified

LGBTQ+ students by the numbers



For Pride Month, we looked at how the size and experiences of the LGBTQ+ undergraduate student community at UC Berkeley have changed over time. Using data from the UC Undergraduate Experience Survey, or UCUES, we visualized the breakdown of students by sexual orientation, gender identity and how respected they felt on campus based on their sexual orientation.

In 2008, the percent of students identifying as “gay/lesbian,” “questioning/unsure” and “queer” was 2.2%, 1.5% and 0.6%, respectively. Since then, the proportion of students identifying as nonheterosexual has more than doubled: Those numbers are now 3.9%, 3.3% and 2.6%. There was also a dramatic increase in the proportion of bisexual students, tripling from 2.9% to 9.5% across the 12-year span.

In 2014, 38.4% of students strongly agreed that individuals of the same sexual orientation as them are respected on campus. This percentage decreased from 2014 to 2020, with 33.1% of students strongly agreeing in 2020. The percentage of students who strongly disagreed doubled from 0.6% in 2014 to 1.3% in 2020. The most common answer was that students agreed that individuals of the same sexual orientation as them are respected on campus, ranging from 45.6% in 2014 to 47.9% in 2020.

The UCUES results made a distinction between cisgender and transgender men and women. The third visualization reflects these results. Female students are overrepresented in the sample, persistently making up 57% to 59% of the respondents despite making up just 52% of the total campus population, according to Cal Answers data from spring 2016. From 2010 to 2020, the number of trans respondents rose from 15 to 34, while the number of nonbinary respondents rose from 38 to 135. Still, in 2020, these two groups combined made up less than 2% of the 11,667 respondents.

What is your current gender identity?

About this story

These data were sourced from the 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2020 UC Undergraduate Experience Surveys. All UC Berkeley undergraduate students enrolled in the spring semesters were invited to participate in the UCUES. Participation was voluntary and response rates ranged from 29% to 50%, so the results should be treated with caution.

For the “Sexual orientation of UC Berkeley students” visualization, students who responded “decline to state” were not included because the option was unavailable from 2016 onward.

For the “What is your current gender identity?” visualization, trans men and women are aggregated because the UCUES results did not distinguish the two options until 2018. Students who responded “decline to state” were grouped with those that responded “other” for 2011 and 2012. Information on “decline to state” responses was unavailable from 2016 onward.

This project is open-source on GitHub.

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