Over one in four people believes every person who has gay sex should be charged as criminals, according to a global survey.
Broken across regions, those who believes gay sex should be a crime varies from 15% of people in Australia to nearly one in two across Africa.
While the belief homosexuality should be a crime was far more prevalent in places where it is actually a crime, there were some shocking revelations.
In the UK, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalization of homosexuality this year, one in six (17%) agreed with the following statement:
‘People should engage in romantic or sexual relationships with people of the same sex should be charged as criminals’.
It was a little higher in the US, at 18% agreeing with that statement.
28.5%, globally, believes gay sex should be a crime
- 15% of respondents agreed from Australia and New Zealand
- 17% in the UK
- 18% in the US
- 19% in North America, South America, and western Europe
- 23% in Eastern Europe
- 36% in Middle East
- 45% in Africa
‘It is worrying that these attitudes towards criminalization hover around the 20% mark in many developed countries,’ said lead survey researcher and co-author of the 2017 Ilga-Riwa global attitudes report, Aengus Carroll.
He added this was partly due to a ‘traditional values matrix’ and people who equate homosexuality with pedophilia.
There was a marked difference in attitudes depending on whether there is a law against homosexuality in that particular country.
Does a country’s attitudes on homosexuality depend on the law?
All countries on whether gay sex should be criminalized
- 28.5% agreed gay sex should be a crime
Countries where gay sex is already criminalized
- 42% agreed gay sex should be a crime
Countries where gay sex is not criminalized
- 21% agreed gay sex should be a crime
‘The law of the land affects the attitudes of people in the land,’ said Carroll.
‘In repressive states where there are repressive laws, attitudes of the public are affected by the laws and this is very clear in this data.’
Almost a third, 30%, said their religion was ‘incompatible’ with accepting people who are gay or bisexual.
Does knowing a gay, bi or trans person change a person’s view on LGBTI people?
Most of all, Carrol said, those who know someone who is LGBTI greatly changes their views to support equal rights and protections.
Globally, 55% agreed equal rights and protections should apply to gay and bi people. And also, 59% said the same of those who are trans or gender-diverse.
Also, that figure rose to 73% among people who knew someone who was gay, bi, trans or gender-diverse.
However, those who didn’t know someone who was gay or transgender was far likely to say the LGBTI community deserves equal rights, at 44% and 54% respectively.
‘It is universally clear,” the authors said, ‘that when respondents know someone belonging to sexual or gender minorities in their cultures their attitudes appear to be significantly more inclusive and inclined towards equal treatment.’