Some of my friends are gay
by Mitchell Hung

Published on The Economist on October 24, 2016

A survey of whether people know LGBT people highlights sharp global differences

Big differences exist around the world in attitudes to LGBT people. That is widely known. But according to a new survey there are also big differences in whether people think they know LGBT people. These differences are highly correlated with what people say about pro-LGBT policies, suggesting if nothing else that as knowledge grows of actual gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people in your community, as family, friends or neighbours, attitudes improve toward such people.

The new report,“The personal and the political: attitudes to LGBTI people around the world,” was written by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) and RIWI, a polling company. It charts sharp regional differences in response to questions ranging from do you agree that “Same-sex desire is a Western World phenomenon” and that “Being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or intersex should be a crime” to “Do you personally know someone who does not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth, or who identifies as transgender?” and “How would you feel if your neighbour were gay or lesbian?”. Overall, the responses were not quite as negative as the researchers had predicted, though the data show that fiercely anti-LGBT attitudes persist in large parts of the world.

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ILGA supports Pride and Prejudice, a global initiative organised by The Economist Events that will catalyse fresh debate on the economic and human costs of discrimination against the LGBTI community. The 24-hour event taking place on March 23rd will begin in Hong Kong, continue in London and end in New York. ILGA member organisations can enter discount code ILGA/DC to save 20% off a pass to either the Hong Kong, London or New York events. Find out more about Pride and Prejudice here.

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