Love Makes a Family Offers a Window into the Lives of LGBTQ+ Families in America

The Maltz Museum recently debuted its A Celebration of Family exhibition, which includes a collection called, Love Makes a Family: Portraits of LGBTQ+ People and Their Families, produced by the Family Diversity Projects. It’s a traveling exhibit that includes over 40 photographs and interviews with families that have LGBTQ+ members.

Love Makes a Family includes first-person accounts and positive images that seek to challenge and change damaging myths and stereotypes about LGBTQ+ people and their families.

The images and stories have many of our team wanting to know more about LGBTQ+ people and families—in America and Ohio, where the Maltz Museum is located. We did a little digging to shed light on this growing community and the mission behind Love Makes a Family.

How many people identify as LGBTQ+ in the U.S.?

According to a 2024 Gallup poll, LGBTQ+ identification in the U.S. continues to grow, with 7.6% of U.S. adults now identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or some other sexual orientation besides heterosexual. The current figure is up from 5.6% four years ago and 3.5% in 2012, Gallup’s first year of measuring sexual orientation and transgender identity.

How many people identify as LGBTQ+ in Ohio?

Ohio is among the states with the highest number of adults identifying within the LGBTQ+ community, according to a report from the Williams Institute at the University of California Los Angeles. The state’s LGBTQ+ population is the sixth largest in the nation. Ohio includes about 557,000 adults, or 6.2% of the state’s population, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or an orientation or gender identity other than heterosexual.

What Ohio cities are the most supportive of the LGBTQ+ community?

According to The Columbus Dispatch, eight Ohio cities get top marks when it comes to protecting equality for LGBTQ people, as reported by the Human Rights Campaign’s 2023 Municipal Equality Index. The index rates how inclusive a city’s laws, policies, and services are of LGBTQ+ people who live and work there, from zero to 100.

Cities with top marks were Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Dublin, Lakewood, and Toledo. Every city scored over 90, with the majority scoring 100s, except for Toledo (94) and Lakewood (96).

What are some challenges the LGBTQ+ community faces?

It’s no secret that the LGBTQ+ community has faced violence and injustice in America. Although the community’s constitutional rights have been confirmed, intolerance and injustice continue. According to the ACLU, it’s currently tracking 515 anti-LGBTQ bills in the U.S., including seven bills in the State of Ohio.

How does Love Makes a Family make a difference?

Love Makes a Family can help prevent bullying behaviors and discrimination. By encouraging people of all ages to affirm and appreciate the diversity of sexual orientation and gender identity, the exhibit contributes to dismantling the destructive power of prejudice and intolerance. Love Makes a Family’s mission is to make the world safer for everyone.

In viewing this exhibition, visitors will likely find it remarkable for its familiarity. Love Makes a Family shows us that LGBTQ+ families have many of the same wants, needs, ambitions, and struggles as other families living in the U.S. Understanding the sameness—and the differences—all of this gives visitors a new window into the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ families. And especially for those less familiar with this growing community, Love Makes a Family is a great place to get acquainted.

How you can learn more

If you’re new to the LGBTQ+ community and want to learn more, get started with our LGBTQ+ Glossary of Terms & Resources or join us on June 19th for LGBTQ+ Diversity 101.


Gallup. LGBTQ+ Identification in U.S. Now at 7.6%. Posted: March 13, 2024. Accessed: June 7, 2024.

The Williams Institute. Adult LGBT Population in the United States. Posted: December 2023. Accessed: June 7, 2024.

The Columbus Dispatch. 8 Ohio cities are ranked highly for protecting LGBTQ people. Advocates say it’s not enough. Updated: January 1, 2024. Accessed: June 7, 2024.

ACLU. Mapping Attacks on LGBTQ Rights in U.S. State Legislatures in 2024. Updated: May 31, 2024. Accessed: June 7, 2024.


Maltz Museum