When results from both surveys in 2005 and 2010 were compared, Singaporeans' attitudes towards homosexuals appear to have shifted more positively. "Taken together, the results show a small but significant trend toward greater tolerance of homosexuals," said Prof Detenber.
In 2005, 68.6 percent of respondents expressed negative attitudes, 22.9 percent had positive attitudes and 8.5 percent were neutral. In 2010, 64.5 percent of those surveyed held negative attitudes towards homosexuals, while 25.3 percent expressed positive attitudes and 10.2 percent were neutral.
"Clearly, public opinion is still highly polarised on this issue, but slightly more people are sharing the middle ground in 2010 compared to 2005," Prof Detenber said. The study found that older people tend to have more negative attitudes towards lesbians and gays, as do those with lower levels of education and income. On the other hand, people who feel it is less important to conform to social norms and those with a more Western cultural orientation tend to have less negative attitudes and be more accepting of homosexuals.
Similar to studies conducted elsewhere, the survey found that Singapore citizens and PRs who have a gay or lesbian family member or know someone who is homosexual are less likely to have negative attitudes and be more accepting.
Interpersonal contact also appears to have a bigger influence in shaping attitudes and acceptance of homosexuals than mediated exposure to homosexual characters i.e. seeing gays and lesbians in films and television programmes which also predicted less negative attitudes and greater acceptance.
Previous studies showed that exposure to gay characters in the media has the most effect on the attitudes of people with little or no interpersonal contact with gay men and lesbians. In contrast, the 2010 study found that viewing
|Contact: Feisal Abdul Rahman |
Nanyang Technological University