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Thursday 16th July, 14:00 - 15:30 Room: N-131

Analyzing sexual prejudice and sexual orientation with survey data 1

Convenor Mrs Anabel Kuntz (University of Cologne )
Coordinator 1Dr Stephanie Steinmetz (University of Amsterdam)

Session Details

In past decades, the acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people has increased in Europe. Nevertheless, sexual prejudice considerably varies within and between European countries. Although Europe is a place where many national laws prohibit at least the incitement to discrimination based on sexual orientation, countries also differ in granting rights to LGBT people and in protecting them from discrimination. Moreover, LGBT rights are hotly debated in the European public and politics. Compared to research on other minority groups, such as ethnic minorities, sexual prejudice has been studied quantitatively much less in the social sciences. Therefore, this session aims to increase the understanding of situation of LGBT people within Europe on the basis of quantitative studies and to evaluate also the methodological challenges researchers face when using existing data sources. Contributions are welcome focusing on sexual prejudice and rights of LGBT people as well as issues relating to sexual orientation both from a substantive and methodological perspective.

Paper Details

1. LGBT lives in Europe – findings from the EU LGBT survey
Dr Sabine Springer (FRA European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights )
Dr Vida Beresneviciute (FRA European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights )

In 2012 the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights carried out a European LGBT survey covering 28 countries, using a web-based opt-in approach. While the results might not be representative for the LGBT population as a whole, they show that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons face obstacles in the enjoyment of their fundamental rights. They provide an insight into discrimination, hate speech and hate crime experiences of 90,000 LGBT persons. The presentation provides an overview of the methodology and the main results combined with information on the prevalence of prejudices against this group from other surveys.

2. Sexual orientation in Northern Ireland: equality, attitudes and policy
Dr Paula Devine (ARK, Queen's University Belfast)

Whilst much legislation has been passed in Northern Ireland to address discrimination based on sexual orientation, much of it has been controversial. It has been argued that religious and moral discourse often impacts on such policy and legislative change. This paper will use data from the 2012 and 2013 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey to explore public attitudes to issues affecting the LGB community, such as same-sex marriage and adoption. Previous survey data will help explore if, and how, attitudes have changed over time, and whether government policy is in tune with public opinion.

3. Are the upper classes more gay-friendly? Acceptance of homosexuality in France: the roles of social status and biographical trajectory
Mr Wilfried Rault (Ined)

This paper provides a means to identify different types of social acceptance of homosexuality. It shows that social background variables are much poorer predictors of high levels of acceptance than gender, generation and attitude to religion. In particular, variations linked to social background depend on the type of variable used: the upper classes stand out as more gay-friendly on very abstract positions of principle, but when more practical indicators of acceptance are used, this specificity disappears. It also shows the importance, for women especially, of biographical variables relating to individual experience of sexuality and intimate relationships.

4. Homophobia and Atheism
Ms Jara Kampmann (none)

Homosexuality and religion – no matter which denomination - are mostly conflict-prone. Higher levels of religiosity lead in general to higher levels of homophobia. Does this equation also hold at its extremes? Pointedly formulated: Does no religiosity, i.e. Atheism, lead to no homophobia? Besides showing general trends of homophobia in Europe for three decades, we aim at discerning whether Atheism is an influencing factor for homophobia. As our analyses show being an Atheist does negatively affect one’s level of homophobia, but only in Western Europe. There is a clear divide between former communist and western democratic countries.