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China more ready for LGBTI workplace rights than same-sex marriage

China more ready for LGBTI workplace rights than same-sex marriage

The WorkForLGBT anniversary event at the Shanghai Grand Kempinski Hotel

Results of the second, annual China LGBT Social Climate Survey report were released yesterday at an event commemorating the second anniversary of workplace advocacy group, WorkForLGBT.

The survey has been produced by WorkForLGBT in collaboration with YouGov and PFLAG China.

The WorkForLGBT anniversary event took place at the Shanghai Grand Kempinski Hotel on Sunday.

The survey sampled the views of 4,000 individuals (up from 2,400 for the first such survey in 2014) and sought to establish a snapshot of the support afforded to the LGBT people in society, business and the workplace.

Its major conclusion? Those who know LGBT people are far more likely to be supportive of LGBT inclusion and rights.

Key findings included:

  • Seventy seven per cent agreed that workplace culture should welcome all employees regardless of sexual orientation and 72% believe LGBT people should have equal rights in terms of job opportunities.
  • There was less agreement on broader social questions, with only 48% saying homosexuality should be ‘accepted by society’ and 39% supporting the legalization of same-sex marriage.
  • Thirty-eight per cent say their attitude has become more supportive over the past several years, while 8% say less supportive, and 54% report no change in attitude. Younger people (18-24 years old), showed a greater increase in support, with 43% saying their support towards LGBT issues had increased.
  • While only 21% know someone openly LGBT in China’s cities (26% of 18-24 year olds versus 16% of those 55+) those that do are significantly more likely to support the LGBT community across the spectrum.
  • Eighty-seven per cent of those who know LGBT people support a welcoming workplace culture, against 75% of those who do know any LGBT people. In regards to equal rights in job opportunities, 83% who know LGBT people support equality, as opposed to 69% who don’t know any LGBT people.
  • In regards to same-sex marriage, 60% of people who know LGBT people support legislation, while only 30% of those who don’t know any LGBT people do.
  • Approximately 63% of those polled thought that homosexuality was ‘Not very well presented in the media’ or ‘Very poorly presented in the media’.
  • Respondents estimated that around 6% of the population were LGBT. However, of the 4,000 polled, 5% identified as gay, and a further 5% as bisexual. Nine per cent preferred not to say, and 81% identified as heterosexual.

WorkForLGBT’s founder Steven Paul Bielinski said in a statement, ‘The power of living truly and “coming out” with love is evidenced in our survey results.

‘While more than 80% of people in the US, Canada, the UK, and elsewhere know openly gay people, only 21% of China’s urban population does.

‘That said, support soars when Chinese people hear our stories. Support for same-sex marriage nearly doubles from 34% who don’t know anyone, to 60% who have openly gay family, friends, or colleagues.

‘Regardless of whether they know anyone or not, overwhelming majority’s support LGBT diversity and inclusion in business and the workplace, with four out of five people saying job opportunities and workplace cultures should be inclusive of LGBT individuals.’

Earlier this year, WorkForLGBT organized China’s first LGBT job fair. Bielinski says that a second fair is planned for 2016.

There are currently no employment non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in China, and no legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

Some in the business world, such as the Geng Le, CEO of Blued, the world’s largest dating app, believe same-sex marriage is at least ten years away from becoming a reality.

In July, discussing reasons to Gay Star Business for the lack of legal protections for gay people, he said, ‘China operates on the ‘Three No’ policy: no promotion, no demotion, no comment – it’s like saying it doesn’t really exist, so there are no provisions in place to safeguard against discrimination in the workforce.

‘If I could change one thing, it would be to put protection clauses in the law.’