Global Divide on Homosexuality Persists
Editor’s Note: The following report was published by the Pew Research Center, based on findings from its survey conducted in 2019. Excerpts are posted below. Click here to read entire report, with graphic designs.
Despite major changes in laws and norms surrounding the issue of same-sex marriage and the rights of LGBT people around the world, public opinion on the acceptance of homosexuality in society remains sharply divided by country, region and economic development.
As it was in 2013, when the question was last asked, attitudes on the acceptance of homosexuality are shaped by the country in which people live. Those in Western Europe and the Americas are generally more accepting of homosexuality than are those in Eastern Europe, Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa. And publics in the Asia-Pacific region generally are split. This is a function not only of economic development of nations, but also religious and political attitudes.
But even with these sharp divides, views are changing in many of the countries that have been surveyed since 2002, when Pew Research Center first began asking this question. In many nations, there has been an increasing acceptance of homosexuality, including in the United States, where 72% say it should be accepted, compared with just 49% as recently as 2007.
Many of the countries surveyed in 2002 and 2019 have seen a double-digit increase in acceptance of homosexuality. This includes a 21-point increase since 2002 in South Africa and a 19-point increase in South Korea over the same time period. India also saw a 22-point increase since 2014, the first time the question was asked of a nationally representative sample there.
There also have been fairly large shifts in acceptance of homosexuality over the past 17 years in two very different places: Mexico and Japan. In both countries, just over half said they accepted homosexuality in 2002, but now closer to seven-in-ten say this.