An UK-wide survey published today has found that 50% of people feel LGBT+ folk should avoid holding hands in public for fear of attack.
The poll, published by anti-violence charity Galop and conducted by LightSpeed, has also found that 1 in 10 people feel that being LGBT+ can be cured and that we are ‘dangerous’ to other people.
10,612 people were polled across 10 European countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia and the UK) between August and October 2018, with the UK poll totalling 1,617 and responses from Scotland being 9% of the sample.
The charity have now called for agencies to work together to tackle anti-LGBT attitudes amongst sections of the population, including what they describe as ‘the toxic culture of hate online’.
(Graphics show UK sample results)
Asked if they were comfortable with trans people sharing the same public toilets, the vast majority of respondents answered favourably, with over 60% agreeing or strongly agreeing that they should. Women were also more likely to be comfortable than men, with 62% agreeing compared to 58%. Young people were the most comfortable of any age group at 70.3% of 18-24 years olds agreeing.
Most shockingly however, was the finding that 17% of young people aged 18-24 felt that being LGBT+ can be cured. This was the highest level of any age group, highlighting an issue understanding sexuality and gender identity amongst this age group.
The research also found that 1 in 5 said being LGBT+ was ‘immoral or against their beliefs’ and the same proportion would show reluctance to the idea of having an LGBT neighbour.
Nick Antjoule, Galop’s Head of Hate Crime Services said:
“Our research shows the journey toward LGBT+ equality is far from over. Despite most people in this UK poll voicing support for LGBT+ people, a significant proportion still think we are dangerous, immoral or that we can be cured.”
“It offers a sobering reminder that progress achieved in recent decades can easily be reversed. Young people polled tended to hold more negative views toward LGBT+ people than other age groups. This alarming finding warns of a generational pivot ahead and a bumpy road for those of us committed to challenging anti-LGBT violence or abuse.”
Scotland has no coordinated national plan for tackling hate crime against LGBT+ people. Although hate crime figures are available more frequently in England and Wales, the Scottish data is produced annually by the Crown Office.
The latest figures available for the year to March 2019 in Scotland show hate crime has climbed to the highest ever level since laws were introduced almost a decade ago, standing at 1,216 crimes, up 5% on the previous 12 months.
The Scottish Government have announced that a new hate crime bill will be brought before Parliament soon, following a consultation led by Lord Bracadale opened in November 2018. Over 1,100 responses were received with a number of recommendations made to improve hate crime laws in Scotland, which the Justice Secretary, Humza Yousaf, is considering.