A new survey released by Pew Research Centre shows that 81% of Australians say gay rights should be accepted by society. The figure is up 2% from 2013, when the worldwide survey was last conducted.

Across the world, attitudes to homosexuality are changing, according to the Pew Research.

“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 the public 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.”

Pew conducted its survey by telephone or face-t0-face interviews in 2019 in 34 countries, including Australia. The question that the researchers asked people were asking them to opt for which statement was closer to their opinion – Homosexuality should be accepted by society or homosexuality should not be accepted by society.

Australia (81%) was among the few countries in the world where a large majority of the population said LGBTQI rights should be accepted  – the others were Sweden (94%), the Netherlands (92%), Spain (89%), UK, France, Germany (all 86%), and Canada (85%).

At the bottom of the list were Nigeria (7%), Tunisia and Indonesia (both 9%), Lebanon (13%), Ukraine, Kenya and Russia (14%).

The younger generation, women and those who were educated were more likely to say that society should be accepting of same sex reltions. The other factors that seem to affect acceptance of homosexuality in a country, according to Pew, were wealth (wealthier countries were more accepting), religion (religious societies were less accepting) and political ideology (political right was less accepting of homosexuality than the left).

In Australia, those who identified ideologically with the left were more accepting of homosexuality at 87% than centrists at 85% and the right at 77%. Similarly, people who were religious were less accepting of LGBTQI rights at 61% than those who said religion was not important to them (85%). Overall in Australia around 14% still insisted that homosexuality should not be accepted by the society, while the remaining 5 % chose not to answer the question.

The biggest jump in acceptance of homosexuality since the previous survey in 2013 was seen in  South Africa (54%) and India (37%) – both up by 22 %. This was followed by Turkey (25% – an increase of 16%) and Japan (68% – up 14%). US (72%) and UK (86 %) were next with an increase of 12% and 10% respectively.

“The 2019 survey shows that while majorities in 16 of the 34 countries surveyed say homosexuality should be accepted by society, global divides remain,” the researchers said.

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