Worldwide attitudes towards lesbians are more positive than gay men, landmark study finds

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Around the world, attitudes towards lesbians are more positive that they are towards gay men, according to new research.

The study was published in the journal Social Psychology and Personality Science and looked at attitudes towards gay men and lesbian women in 23 countries, “representing both Western and non-Western societies”.

The authors of the study analysed 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.

The researchers found that in every one of the 23 countries, lesbians were viewed less negatively than gay men. While in some countries, like India and Spain, attitudes to gay men and lesbians were more similar, the disparity was the greatest in Russia and Hungary.

The study also showed that while men were more likely have negative attitudes towards sexual minorities, as well as being more likely to become victims of this discrimination, in many places it was women who held more negative views against lesbians.

Researchers stated: “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.

But 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”.

Of the 23 countries included in the study, people in Spain were found to be the most positive towards gay and lesbian people, and people in Russia were the most negative. Western countries in general were more positive towards homosexuality, which the highest placing non-Western country being India in 14th place.