France, Russia, and Turkey are all more homophobic than they were in 2007. South Korea suddenly picked up a rainbow flag. And Nigeria has its own 1% — the 1% that think that society should accept homosexuality.
Not all of the data in Pew's new report, "The Global Divide on Homosexuality," is cause for raised eyebrows. None of us should be shocked to hear that the survey, which asked people in 39 countries if society should accept homosexuality, found that North America and the European Union are more accepting of homosexuality than the Middle East. But the report, which largely compares surveys done in 2007 and 2013, does present some interesting findings.
You may have assumed that millennials would be more accepting than older generations, but did you know that in Japan, 83% of people aged 30 or younger think that society should accept homosexuality, but only 39% of people aged 50 or older do.
Or how about the fact that eight countries have actually become MORE homophobic than they were in 2007? (I'm looking at you, Poland. You too, Jordan. Oh, and the Czech Republic deserves a shoutout too.)
Image Credit: Washington Post
This research also points out a few major exceptions that boldly defy the typical correlation between centrality of religion in people's lives and their intolerance of homosexuality. Russia and China (where only 16% and 21% of people, respectively, think that homosexuality should be accepted by society) prove that a low score on the religiosity scale does not necessarily equate to a more tolerant population, whereas traditionally religious Brazilians and Filipinos seem to have open arms.
Furthermore, in the U.S., only 60% of people think that society should accept homosexuality, despite what all of your Facebook friends changing their profile pictures to those pink equals signs at the end of March may have led you to believe. It is interesting to note that the 2013 U.S. data for this report was collected March 4-18, ending about a week before the internet was painted pink.
The good news is that this figure is up from a mere 49% in 2007. Well done, America. I would safely call that progress.
Canada also became considerably more queer-friendly, jumping from 70% acceptance to 80%. South Korea, however, led the charge, with more than a fifth of their population changing their minds to think that their society should accept gay people.
Latin America also deserves a round of applause for tolerance, with almost three quarters of Argentines saying that homosexuality should be accepted and the rest not too far behind.
But, of course, it isn't all good news. In the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, extreme majorities said that homosexuality should be rejected by society. By extreme majorities I mean 97% in Jordan, 95% in Egypt, 94% in Tunisia, etc.
But let's end on a positive note. According to Pew, Spain and Germany wholeheartedly embrace the idea that society should accept homosexuality (or at least 88% and 87% of people do, respectively).
Now if only the rest of the world would follow suit.