Study: Global attitudes towards lesbians are more positive than gay men

Though there is a growing trend of tolerance and inclusion towards the global LGBTQ+ community, a new study highlights that “homo-negativity” is still a worldwide phenomenon.

Same-sex activity is illegal in more than 70 countries across the world; some even promote the death sentence against homosexuals. However, new research has indicated that around the world, attitudes towards lesbians are more positive than they are towards gay men.

Analysing the results taken from 23 countries and published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science, researchers found that in every one of the 23 countries “representing both Western and non-Western societies,” lesbians were viewed in a more positive light than that of gay men.

A team of researchers led by Maria Laura Bettensoli of New York University in Abu Dhabi conducted results from Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden,
Turkey, and the United States.

Though the research showed that in countries, such as India and Spain, the attitudes towards gay men and lesbians were similar, the greatest disparities were found in Hungary and Russia. These two countries are particularly intolerant of the LGBTQ+ community.

The study also helped researchers see that although men were more likely to have negative attitudes towards sexual minorities, as well as being more likely to become victims of discrimination, it was women who held more negative views against lesbians in some places.

“Only in China, France and Italy did men report more negative attitudes toward lesbian women. In Mexico and the United States, women were significantly more prejudiced than men on the evaluations of lesbian women,” said researchers.

However, according to Psychology Today they added: “We found that in several countries (including the United States), men and women did not significantly differ in their attitudes toward gay men”.

The researchers suggested that any negativity towards sexual minorities is “driven, in part, by the perception that gay men and lesbian women violate traditional gender norms”.

Spain was found to be the most positive towards gay and lesbian people, with the Russians placing as the most negative. Western countries in general were more positive towards homosexuality, with the highest placing non-Western country being India in 14th place.