HKBU scholar survey finds over half of respondents support sexual orientation anti-discrimination legislation Views divided on same-sex marriage legalisation
Dr Dominic Yeo, Assistant Professor of Department of Communication Studies announced yesterday the results of a representative survey of Hong Kong adults which found that over 50% of respondents endorse legal protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, but nearly 40% object to same-sex marriage.
To understand Hong Kong people’s attitude about social acceptance of gay and lesbian people as well as support for legislating sexual orientation discrimination protection and same-sex marriage, Dr Yeo and his team used a method of random sampling to conduct telephone interviews with 1,008 Cantonese-speaking adults aged 18 or above. The study revealed that 61% of respondents do not personally know any friend or co-worker who is gay, lesbian or bisexual, while those who reported knowing one or two personal contacts, or three or more contacts both amount to about 20%.
In addition, 52% of respondents accept homosexuality while 34% oppose it. A total of 53% of respondents do not consider homosexuality to be abnormal, 47% disagree or strongly disagree that same-sex sexual activity is wrong and 57% endorsed the notion that homosexuality is an inborn trait.
The figures demonstrate that 51% of respondents support sexual orientation anti-discrimination legislation, compared to 15% of respondents who oppose it. A total of 33% of respondents support same-sex marriage legislation, slightly less than the 39% who oppose it. There is overwhelming acceptance of gay/lesbian people as colleagues (84%) or friends (77%), but not as relatives (40%).
The study entitled “Beyond Homonegativity: Understanding Hong Kong People’s Attitudes About Social Acceptance of Gay/ Lesbian People, Sexual Orientation discrimination Proection, and Same-Sex Marriage” was published in Journal of Homosexuality (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00918369.2017.1375363).
Dr Yeo remarked that the survey found Hong Kong people are more gay-friendly, compared to other places such as Singapore; respondents who are younger and with higher income and education level, hold positive views on homosexuality, sexual orientation anti-discrimination legislation, and same-sex marriage legalisation. However, people’s views on same-sex marriage are polarised across religious affiliation, political orientation, age groups, and income levels (Diagram 1 and 2).
Dr Yeo argued that Hong Kong adults are not consistent in their support or opposition to gay/lesbian issues, and make a sharp distinction between accepting gay/lesbian as relatives as opposed to friends and co-workers. This relative-outsider delineation explains why Hong Kong people oppose same-sex marriage but support sexual orientation anti-discrimination protection.
Dr Yeo remarks that Hong Kong adults are not consistent in their support or opposition to gay/lesbian issues