A Quarter Of The World’s Population Thinks Gay People Should Be In Prison

A new report from the International LGBTI Association reveals troubling attitudes on the global level.

Homosexuality is illegal in some 72 countries worldwide, but a new study suggests that number would be significantly higher if everyday citizens had their way. The International LGBTI Association (ILGA)’s 2017 Global Attitudes Survey found that about one-fourth of the world’s population believes homosexual behavior should be a criminal offense.

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Of course that percentage fluctuated greatly among the 77 countries and territories surveyed: In the U.S. and Canada, for example, only about 19% favor criminalizing same-sex behavior. In Australia, it’s just 15%.

In the the Middle East, the average was much higher: 36%. And overall, in the 15 African countries surveyed, 45% agreed with keeping legal prohibitions on homosexuality. A different survey indicated that in Nigeria, where sex acts between men carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison, 90% of the population supported keeping the ban.

IGLA/RIWI

The full report, conducted in partnership with Viacom, Logo and SAGE, is the largest investigation of its kind, reaching more than 116,000 subjects and delving into a variety of views and experiences.

The data also suggests solutions need to come both on the political and the personal front: Of those who supported laws against homosexuality, for example, only 25% stated they actually knew a gay person.

“Knowing someone in these communities has significant positive effect on attitudes towards them,” says report co-author Aengus Carroll. “At the global level, 41% of respondents know someone who is romantically attracted to people of the same sex, and 35% of respondents directly know someone who dresses, acts or identifies as another sex than the one they were born… When people know each other first-hand, a destigmatizing effect can be produced, and that counters the stereotyping too often perpetuated by religious and political leaders and the media.”

Below, a full list of countries surveyed for the 2017 report.

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