New study sheds a positive light on attitudes towards the UK LGBT community

A new Ipsos MORI survey commissioned by grooming brand Harry’s has provided a new insight into UK heterosexuals' attitudes towards the LGBT community in the UK in 2018.

The author(s)

  • Georgia Lowe Ipsos, UK
  • Nick Philp Observer
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A new Ipsos MORI study for grooming brand Harry's, which surveyed 2,251 adults in the UK, reveals that a majority of heterosexuals responding to the survey are ready to leap to an LGBT individual’s defence in the face of homophobia, have embraced same-sex marriage and around 1 in 5 would feel trusted if their teenage son or daughter came out to them.  The survey also showed that 86% of LGBT people say the best way to support the community is to treat them the same as everyone else, with straight respondents aligned with 63% thinking the same.

Although  the vast majority of heterosexuals, responding to the Ipsos MORI survey, now feel comfortable around lesbian, gay or bisexual people, nearly a quarter (23%) say they’re uncomfortable around transgender individuals and men still lag behind women when it comes to supporting the LGBT community.

The survey found:

An overwhelming majority of heterosexuals are prepared to stand up to homophobia.

79% of straight people, surveyed by Ipsos MORI, said they would do something if they saw a member  of the LGBT community being verbally abused in the street because of their sexuality. Over half (52%) would intervene directly if they felt it was safe to, with others saying they’d phone the police, offer support or seek help from others.

People in London were the least likely to say they would intervene directly but the most likely to say they would alert the police, while people in Northern Ireland, Wales and the North East were most likely to intervene directly.

Strong support for ‘Straight Ally’ schemes to tackle homophobia in the workplace, particularly amongst younger workers.

Nearly  three-quarters  (73%) of LGBT respondents  think more  companies should  have ‘straight  ally’ schemes to tackle homophobia in the workplace and over half of 16-34’s agreed. A majority of all women (55%) believed this workplace initiative should be instigated, with a lower percentage of men (41%) agreeing.

It might be time for LGBT people to ask their straight mates to Pride.

More than one in five (22%) of straight men, and over a third (36%) of straight women, would be likely to attend one of this year’s Pride events if only they were asked while 40% of straight 25-34 year olds would join the celebrations if invited, in response to the survey. People in the North West were the most likely to say they would attend a Pride event if asked.

"Trusted", "Happy" and "Proud" were the most common reactions if respondents had their  teenage son or daughter come out to them as gay or lesbian.

The survey found 21% of respondents would feel ‘trusted’ by their teenage son or daughter opening up to them, 18% say they’d  be ‘proud’ and another  18% would be ‘happy’.  Encouragingly the least common reactions included ‘angry’ and ‘sad’.

Women remain the LGBT communities staunchest allies.

Women were more likely to know someone who is LGBT; more likely to attend a Pride event if asked; more likely to support straight ally schemes in the workplace and more likely to respond positively to their teenage son or daughter coming out as LGBT than men, responding to the survey.

Acceptance of the LGBT community is not quite complete.

Whilst  82% of people  said they  felt  comfortable  around  lesbians  and  a similar  number (81%)  were comfortable around gay men, fewer people (76%) said they were comfortable around bisexuals and only 62% were comfortable around transgender individuals.

Just over twice as many people (23%)  said they felt uncomfortable around transgender individuals than around gay men (11%).

Other key findings from the survey:

  • Over half of adults in the UK (54%) who responded to the survey support same sex marriage.
  • 63% of heterosexuals responding to the survey believe that the best way to support people from the LGBT community is to treat them the same as everyone else.
  • 77% of straight people know an out LGBT individual, and 30% count LGBT people among their close friends or family. Just over 1 in 10 people (11%), who responded to the survey, have an immediate family member who is LGBT.
  • Knowing someone from the LGBT community makes you more likely to react positively to LGBT issues in general. Only 9% of people with close LGBT friends or family would have a negative reaction to a teenage child coming out, for example, whereas that number increases to 17% amongst those who know no LGBT people.

Technical note

  • Fieldwork dates: 11th – 15th May 2018
  • All figures in percentages
  • Base: 2,251 adults 16-75 in the UK
  • Data have been weighted to the age, working status and government office region within gender
  • Interviews conducted online using i:omnibus, Ipsos MORI’s online omnibus
  • An asterisk represents a percentage less than 0.5 but greater than 0
  • Numbers may not always add up to 100% due to computer rounding or multiple answers

The author(s)

  • Georgia Lowe Ipsos, UK
  • Nick Philp Observer

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