The most searched-for LGBT+ terms on Google in 2020 show just how much the UK still needs to educate itself

Google banner at Berlin's annual Christopher Street Day LGBT+ pride parade

Google’s most searched-for LGBT+ terms in 2020 have been revealed, and it is blindingly obvious that the UK needs some serious queer education.

On Wednesday (9 December) Google released its 2020 Year in Search, revealing the questions, people, topics and events that were most searched for throughout the year.

In an exclusive list for PinkNews, the search engine unveiled the most Googled LGBT+ terms and personalities of 2020:

  1. Transgender meaning
  2. Bi flag
  3. Conversion therapy
  4. Lesbian flag
  5. Bisexual meaning
  6. Pansexual meaning
  7. Marsha P Johnson
  8. Rock Hudson
  9. Cisgender meaning
  10. Pride flags

Some of the search terms showed that Google users were trying to educate themselves, with three of the top 10 searches related to various Pride flags.

An interest in queer history was also evident, as people searched for trans pioneer Marsha P Johnson and closeted Hollywood star Rock Hudson, who died from AIDS-related complications 35 years ago.

Searches for “conversion therapy” came in third, hopefully indicating more widespread awareness of the desperate need for a ban on the traumatising practice in the UK. 

But, worryingly, four of the top 10 searches were for the meanings of the words “transgender”, “bisexual”, “pansexual” and “cisgender”, indicating a serious lack of education on LGBT+ issues.

Although this lack of education among the general public is not breaking news – one 2019 study found that 30 per cent of UK adults felt uninformed on what it means to be LGBT+ – queer people could be forgiven for thinking things might have improved throughout 2020.

LGBT+ people have been consistently in the public eye throughout the year, with ongoing talk of a UK conversion therapy ban, relentless discourse over trans people’s right to exist, the first same-sex dance partners on Strictly, and national hero Phillip Schofield coming out as gay.

But it seems that this has done little to increase public understanding, and Google users are still struggling to define simple terms.

Interest in LGBT+ celebrities does, however, seem to be on the rise as the top three most searched-for celebrities in the UK this year were all queer.

Topping the list was Phillip Schofield, followed by Tiger King stars Carole Baskin and Joe Exotic.

Although Exotic was the focus of the hit Netflix docuseries, Google searchers seemed to be even more interested in Baskin, who came out as bisexual in an exclusive interview with PinkNews this year.