As Pride Month draws to a close, we asked experts about misconceptions regarding the LGBTQ community.

The truth about common LGBTQ misconceptions

Updated 11:38 AM ET, Thu June 30, 2022

(CNN)The US is at a critical moment for LGBTQ rights: More Americans than ever are identifying as LGBTQ, but more than half of states have introduced -- and in some cases, passed -- legislation that aims to limit LGBTQ residents' rights.

So it's as good a time as ever for allies to learn how to better support their LGBTQ loved ones and understand more of the diversity that exists within the broader LGBTQ community. More than 20 million Americans identify as LGBTQ, ​according to a 2021 analysis of census data by the Human Rights Campaign, and it's a pivotal time to protect and expand LGBTQ rights.
As Pride Month comes to a close, we asked experts about some of the things that LGBTQ people wish others knew.

Many LGBTQ people are religious even though faiths don't always affirm them

Political narratives often paint religion and LGBTQ experiences as exclusive, and Christian faith-based arguments are often used to oppose rights like same-sex marriage. ​In spite of this, many LGBTQ people say they are religious, and some of the biggest mainstream Christian denominations openly affirm LGBTQ members and ordain them as spiritual leaders.
About 47% of LGBT adults said they were religious, according to a 2020 report from the Williams Center, UCLA Law's LGBT-focused public policy research center. (The report was based on data collected between 2015 and 2017, though, so it's likely these figures have changed.) That figure reached 65% among older LGBT adults, the report found.
Black LGBT adults, as well as those in the South, were even more likely to be religious (71% and 54.1%, respectively), the report found. All together, that's more than 5 million LGBT adults in the US who described themselves as religious.
Sarah TevisTownes, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, is one of a large group of Christian clergy who supports a Biblical case for affirming LGBTQ people. (The Reformation Project, a Christian organization, is one of the leaders of this movement.)
"The early church affirmed women, and recognized gender beyond the binary," TevisTownes tells CNN. "Today, most mainline Christian denominations affirm LGBTQ people. But the church has made a lot of mistakes, and in other Christian practices, there is no accountability."

Many LGBTQ people want marriage and families

The federal legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015 -- often referred to now by the name of the plaintiff in that landmark case, Obergefell -- was a massive watershed moment for LGBTQ rights and for LGBTQ couples ready to marry. Around one in 10 LGBT adults in the US are married to a same-sex spouse, Gallup reported in 2021.
"After Obergefell, LGBTQ people reported being happier and more satisified with their lives, and today 63% of cohabitating LGBTQ couples are married, showing that LGBTQ couples will seek marriage if given the option," says Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, the LGBTQ media advocacy organization.
Additionally, about 77% of LGBTQ adults, ages 18 to 35, are parents already or say they want children in the future, according to Family Equality, a nonprofit that aims to extend legal protections for LGBTQ families.
"All of this shows that when people have rights, they use them," Ellis adds.
But since the LGBTQ population includes members of Gen Z and millennials, both young generations who, in the case of millennials, are increasingly delaying marriage, younger LGBTQ people may not be thinking about marriage, and this could impact overall percentages of married LGBTQ couples, says Kerith Conron, research director at the Williams Institute.