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South Africa: Gay-friendly and Homophobic at the Same Time
(Blogmensgo, gay blog of September 14, 2016) The majority of the population of South Africa believes that gays and lesbians should have the same human rights and should participate in the South African culture and tradition in the same way as everyone else. On the other hand, a majority thinks that sexual relations between members of the same sex are “morally wrong.” These contradicting conclusions are the result of a study published by The Other Foundation, an organization fighting for equal universal rights, which had polled about 3000 South Africans.
The figures by The Other Foundation confirm a number of already known facts but also reveal some new insight.
Almost 80% of the respondents say that they would never physically or verbally discriminate anyone who does not conform to traditional gender norms, and 55% would accept a gay or lesbian family member.
As a reminder, South Africa is the only country in Africa to have legalized same-sex marriage. Compared to 2012, six times as many South Africans say they “completely agree” with gay marriage (today: 9%). The percentage of those who do not agree fell from 48.5% in 2012 to 23.4% in 2016.
The South African constitution prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Today, about twice as many people are for this protection by the constitution than against it./p>
One of the surprises of this poll was the fact that “moderately religious” people tolerate gays and lesbians better than “least religious” people.
… but everything is relative
Not less than 72% of the respondents find homosexuality “morally wrong”.
Only a small majority (50.6%) of the population think that gays and lesbians should have the same rights as all other South Africans. However, the percentage of people who answered this question with “completely agree” is only 14%.
Only 36.6% are in favor of gay marriage but 46% are against it.
During the 12-month period preceding the survey, about 450,000 South Africans (almost 1% of the population) have physically harmed women “who dress and behave like men in public,” and about 240,000 people have physically or verbally abused men “who dress like women in public.”
Lies or just schizophrenia?
The title of this study (“progressive prudes”) refers to the stark discrepancy between the facts and the personal perceptions of the respondents: Although South Africans consider themselves as gay-friendly overall, there seems to be an active majority of people who do not shy away from abusing gays and lesbians.