Singaporeans are becoming more supportive of same-sex relationships, with a growing number opposed to Section 377A of the Singapore Penal Code and 1 in 2 willing to speak out against prejudice towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
These are some of the findings from the latest study conducted by Ipsos into the normative attitudes of Singaporeans towards Section 377A, which criminisalises sex between consenting male adults.
The research comes five years after Ipsos produced one of the first publicly-available studies on the topic in Singapore, and offers interesting insights into how attitudes towards same-sex relationships have shifted during this period.
Most Singaporeans have a positive view of same-sex relationships
Attitudes towards same-sex relationships have become more favourable in the past three years, especially among young adults. And while the older age group remains largely opposed to same-sex relationships, a significant percentage also reported a softening in their stance.
- 45% of all respondents in the 2022 Ipsos study say they are more accepting of same-sex relationships than they were three years ago.
- Among young adults aged 18 - 29, 67% indicate greater acceptance now.
- 29% of respondents aged 50 years old and above acknowledge that they are more accepting of same-sex relationships than they were three years ago.
Opposition towards Section 377A is on the rise
Support for, or opposition to, Section 377A is often viewed as a proxy for attitudes towards same-sex relationships. In this regard, the study also revealed a change in attitudes in recent years.
- The number of respondents opposed to Section 377A increased by 8 percentage points from 12% in 2018 to 20% in 2022.
- The percentage of those who remain supportive of the penal code fell to less than half - from 55% in2018 to 44% in 2022.
There is significant support for parenting rights for same-sex couples
The 2022 study delved deeper into the ramifications of having a positive attitude towards same-sex relationships and sought respondents' opinions on the parenting rights of same-sex couples.
- 51% of respondents agree that same-sex couples are just as likely as other parents to successfully raise children.
- 49% of respondents agree that same-sex couples should have the same rights to adopt children as heterosexual couples.
A significant proportion of Singaporeans will stand up for the LGBTQ community
The Ipsos study also showed that a significant proportion of Singaporeans are willing to speak up for the LGBTQ community and support laws banning discrimination against them.
- 45% of respondents say they are willing to speak out against someone who is prejudiced against LGBTQ people.
- 1 in 3 (35%) supports laws banning discrimination against LGBTQ people in areas such as access to employment, education, housing and social services.
Melanie Ng, Director of Public Affairs at Ipsos in Singapore said, " Attitudes towards same-sex relationships are gradually becoming more inclusive as Singaporeans get exposed to diverse perspectives through mass media and social channels, have more direct exposure to same-sex relationships around them, and are more open to engaging in conversations to find out more.
Dialogue around same-sex relationships started in earnest in 2008, with the launch of the Pink Dot SG movement to raise awareness of, and support for, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in Singapore.
Today, we continue to see a steady shift in societal attitudes, led by younger adult Singaporeans who are more ready to see the country embrace same sex relationships. At the same time, while the older generation of Singaporeans remains largely opposed to same-sex relationships, we also see attitudes slowly changing.
But what is even more interesting are the attitudes towards same-sex parenting and discrimination against LGBTs, and the willingness to speak up against prejudice. Support for the LGBT community in these areas indicates not just acceptance of same-sex relationships at an abstract level but a deeper awareness of the issues confronting the individuals involved in such relationships. This understanding and empathy paves the way for Singaporeans to better embrace diversity and embed inclusivity within the nation's social fabric."
About the study
- Between 25 May 2022 and 2 June 2022, Ipsos ran a nationally representative online survey of n=500 Singaporean Citizens and Permanent Residents aged 18 and above, in which respondents were asked about their attitudes towards Section 377A and other aspects of same-sex relationships. The study comes five years after the first study was released by Ipsos in 2018 to mark the 10th year of Pink Dot SG, a not-for profit movement organised to raise awareness of, and support for, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community in Singapore.
- Quotas on age, gender and ethnicity were employed to ensure that the sample's composition reflects the overall population distribution, based on Singapore Department of Statistics population estimates.
- The precision of online surveys is measured using a credible interval. In this case, the results reported are accurate to +/- 5 percentage points of the views and perspectives of all Singaporeans aged 18 and above (at 95% confidence level). Credible intervals are wider among subsets of the population.