Anti-LGBTQ+ hate comes from just tiny minority of UK public, eye-opening study finds

Huge crowd of participants with rainbow colours during the parade. The biggest ever, Pride In London parade in central London.

The UK public is most likely to have feelings of respect and admiration towards LGBTQ+ community, according to new research from Stonewall.

The research – published by the charity on the first day of Pride Month 2022, which also marks 50 years since the first Pride march in the UK – surveyed 2,000 adults across the UK to measure public sentiment towards LGBTQ+ people.

Given a choice of words to describe their feelings toward different sections of the community, the most commonly chosen word was “respect”, followed by “admiration”.

The proportion of respondents who chose the word “respect” was around a third across the board, although people were more likely to say they felt respect for lesbian and gay people (38 per cent and 37 per cent) than bi or trans people (32 per cent and 31 per cent).

Trans people garnered the most admiration from the public (21 per cent), while 19 per cent said they admired gay and lesbian people, and 16 per cent said they admired bisexuals, “which may be related to biphobic stereotypes”, Stonewall noted.

Despite relentless fear-mongering in both the media and the UK government about trans people and trans rights, just four per cent of respondents said they felt “fear” towards trans folk, the same proportion that felt fear towards the rest of the LGBTQ+ community.

Less than 10 per cent of the public chose the word “disgust” when thinking about queer people – nine per cent for gay people, eight per cent for trans and bi people, and just 7 per cent for lesbians – showing that homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are limited to a tiny minority of the UK population.

Veteran LGBTQ+ rights activist Peter Tatchell told PinkNews: “This is terrific news that debunks the bigoted agenda of government ministers, right-wing culture warriors and transphobes like the LGB Alliance.

“They are out of touch with public opinion. There is almost no support for the Conservatives’ regressive policies on LGBTQ+ issues.

“Boris Johnson is deluded. He thinks he can shore up his administration with the support of bigoted voters. But this poll shows his cynical strategy won’t work and may turn many voters against the Tories. It proves that our sustained efforts to educate against prejudice are paying off.

“These statistics confirm the long term trend that anti-LGBTQ+ attitudes are waning fast: down massively from two-thirds of the public in the late 1980s believing that homosexuality is ‘mostly’ or ‘always’ wrong.”

Stonewall CEO Nancy Kelley said in a statement: “Over the last 50 years, every battle for the rights of LGBTQ+ communities has been fought in the court of public opinion as well as in the corridors of power.

“This data reminds us to celebrate how far we’ve come, as well as focus on how far there is to go. Nobody should have to grow up and go through life worrying that the people around them feel disgusted by who they are.

“From the fight to decriminalise men who have sex with men, to the fight for trans people’s rights to be protected and respected, we’ve always relied on allies to stand alongside us.

“That’s why, as we enter Pride Month, we need people to do more than wear a rainbow pin – we need everyone to show they take pride in our community, by stepping up and fighting for a more equal world.”