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A revealing map of the countries that are most and least tolerant of homosexuality

in WORLD, 07/06/2013

The Pew Research Center, as part of a fascinating new report on global attitudes toward homosexuality, asked people in 39 different countries a deceptively straightforward question: “Should society accept homosexuality?” People could answer yes, no or decline the question. The “yes” answers are mapped out above. In red countries, less than 45 percent of respondents said homosexuality should be accepted by society. In blue countries, more than 55 percent said it should be accepted. Purple countries fall in that middle range of about half.

We’ll dive into the data below, but first a few important caveats. The first and most obvious is, as we’ve mentioned before, a phenomenon we might call the political correctness effect. It’s possible, for example, that while 80 percent of Canadians say that society should accept homosexuality, maybe some proportion of those people don’t actually believe it but simply feel that they shouldn’t admit their true feelings out loud. Of course, this is still a kind of tolerance, but it’s not the same as earnest acceptance. Another caveat is that definitions of who counts as homosexual are not necessarily the same in all countries; sexuality, like race, is a social construct, which means that it can vary across countries.

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