The number of Jamaicans who ‘hate’ gays has risen over 20% in four years

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The number of people in Jamaica who “hate or reject” homosexual relationships has risen over 20% since 2011, a new survey has revealed.

The 2015 Awareness, Attitude and Perception Survey asked employers, politicians and members of the public a number of questions in regards to same-sex relationships between June and July last year.

The number of Jamaicans who ‘hate’ gays has risen over 20% in four years

Commissioned for JFLAG, the Jamaican Forum of Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays, the report showed that since 2012, the number of people who said they “hate or reject” homosexual relationships had increased 15 points, from 46% to 61%.

This followed a six percent rise from 2011 to 2012.

When the figures were broken down, 61% of the general public agreed with this view, as well as 30% of politicians and 14% of employers. Religious and moral concerns were the top reasons for why people disliked homosexual relationships.

Disturbingly, the majority of respondents also believed that someone who identifies as gay or lesbian can be “converted to hetrosexuality”.

Politicians and the public held this view most strongly, with most stating that homosexuals “can just change”.

Most said that the Bible was crucial to conversion and that being gay was due to social factors and therefore could be corrected.

Dr Wayne West told local newspaper, The Gleaner, he wasn’t surprised with the findings.

“Jamaicans, like myself, are becoming more and more aware that what we are contending with is not simply what people do in their private lives,” he said.

“This is a political movement. It has implications for public organisation and public order. People will reject it the more they hear of the public consequences.”

Dane Lewis, JFLAG’s executive director, said: “They show the tremendous amount of work we need to do to engender a society where everyone can feel safe and know that the laws will secure justice for them if their rights have been infringed.”

The survey questioned 1003 people, which included 33 politicians and 28 employers. It covered all parishes in Jamaica.