A survey published last month shows that Singaporeans became more tolerant of gay people from 2005 to 2010.
The study published in the Asian Journal of Social Psychology showed that 64.5% of respondents held negative attitudes towards homosexuals in 2010, slightly less that the 68.6% in 2005. It also showed that the percentage of respondents with positive attitudes towards gay people rose from 22.9% in 2005 to 25.3% in 2010.
‘Taken together, the results show a small but significant trend towards greater tolerance of homosexuals,’ said Nanyang Technological University’s Professor Benjamin Detenber, who led the research team.
The 959 respondents were nationally representative and those with higher levels of education tended to me more accepting and those who are older and on lower incomes were less accepting.
The study also showed that exposure to gay characters on TV led to less negative attitudes and greater acceptance, despite Singapore’s media censorship laws banning content that ‘justifies, promote or glamorizes’ gay life.
‘As more Singaporeans come into contact with gay people and with the rising availability of films and television programs with gay characters via cable television, local cinemas and the internet, it seems possible that there will be a more significant shift in attitudes towards gays and lesbians over time,’ said co-investigator, Dr Shirley Ho.
The team at Nanyang Technological University’s Wee Kim Wee School of Commication plan to conduct another survey on the same subject in 2015 to further track attitudinal change.
Singapore’s Pink Dot, an event that celebrates LGBT people’s ‘freedom to love’ was first held in 2009, and could have had an influence on change of attitudes.