More and more people feel comfortable enough to come out to their friends on Facebook, according to a new report published by the social media company in celebration of this week’s National Coming Out Day. And as the number of people coming out on Facebook (FB) has increased, so too has support for LGBT-advocacy groups.
Since last October, about 800,000 Americans updated their Facebook profiles to indicate a same-gender attraction or customize their stated gender. “The number of people on Facebook coming out per day is on track to be three times what it was a year ago,” said a blog post announcing the findings. In total, more than 6 million Americans have come out on Facebook, measured through a profile change–more than three-quarters doing so since 2012. That number leaves out Facebook users who come out by writing a status to their friends or posting a photo with a caption.
“Facebook’s research is proving just what a difference visibility makes to LGBT people,” Human Rights Campaign Director of Research and Public Education Jay Brown said in a statement. “In a year that’s seen unprecedented coverage of LGBT people — from major coming out moments to Supreme Court victories to tragedies shaking the community — we see people becoming visible in their own lives.”
And while Americans who feel comfortable displaying their sexual orientation on Facebook are growing in number, so are their allies who support LBGT rights. About 5.7 million Americans are “fans” of the top 300 LGBT pages, like GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign, according to the report. More than 26 million people changed their profile pictures to a rainbow filter in the wake of the June 26 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage across the country.
June 26 was a landmark date for LGBT expression on Facebook more broadly. In the aftermath of the court decision, Facebook saw a large spike in users changing their attraction status or indicating a custom gender. “On a typical day, one out of every ten people who change their ‘interested in’ status on Facebook do so to reflect a same-gender interest,” the blog post said. “On the day of the Supreme Court ruling, this ratio was double, one out of every five people.”