New research from Ipsos MORI shows that the majority of the British public believe LGBTQ+ communities face discrimination in Britain today, but are more split on whether there is further progress needed on LGBTQ+ rights. This comes despite evidence that Britain is more sexually diverse than we might think, particularly among the younger generations, who are more likely to identify their sexuality on a spectrum.
- The majority of Britons (60%) believe that people from LGBTQ+ communities face at least a fair amount of discrimination (16% say they face a great deal) This differs by age, with three quarters of adult Gen Z (73%) and Millennials (74%) saying LGBTQ+ communities face a great deal or fair amount of discrimination, compared to just over half of Baby Boomers (54%) and Gen X (55%).
- Around half of Britons are supportive of LGBT-inclusive sex education in schools, although around one in five are against. Over half (55%) of Britons support the teaching of LGBT sex and relationships in secondary schools as part of RSE (Relationship and Sex Education), including 29% who strongly support this. Only one in five (20%) oppose an LGBT-inclusive curriculum. Another half (50%) support the teaching of LGBT relationships as part of RE (Relationship Education) in primary schools, whereas a quarter (24%) do not.
- When asked about sex education in general, over half (56%) think schools should start teaching children sex education at age 11 or over. A quarter (27%) think schools should introduce sex education at ages 8-10 and one in ten (9%) think it should start at ages 5-7.
- Yet opinion is more split regarding the progression of LGBTQ+ rights in general. A quarter (25%) believe LGBTQ+ rights gone have as far as they should and one in five (18%) think LGBTQ+ rights have gone too far in Britain (another quarter say they don’t know). Only a quarter say there is further distance to be travelled – 27% say that LGBTQ+ rights have not gone far enough. However, this rises to nearly half among Gen Z (47%), compared to 14% of Baby Boomers, 27% of Gen X and 38% of Millennials.
- In terms of sexual orientation, labels don’t capture the full story. Although almost nine in ten Britons (86%) would identify themselves as heterosexual , only three quarters (74%) say they are exclusively attracted to the opposite sex. One in ten (11%) say they are only or mostly attracted to the same sex and 4% are equally attracted to both sexes.
- Younger people are more sexually diverse. Just three quarters (76%) of Gen Z identify as heterosexual, and only about half of (54%) say they are exclusively attracted to the opposite sex. One in ten (11%) say they are only or mostly attracted to the same sex and 15% are equally attracted to both sexes. However, this diversity decreases significantly by age: two thirds (66%) of Millennials, three-quarters (76%) of Gen X and eight in ten (81%) of Baby Boomers say they are solely attracted to the opposite sex.
- Younger people are also more familiar with different types of sexuality, such as pansexuality, omnisexuality and asexuality. One in five (19%) of Britons know at least a fair amount about pansexuality (attraction regardless of someone’s sex, gender or sexuality). However, this increases to half (48%) of Gen Z, compared to just 5% of Baby Boomers.
- About a quarter (27%) of Britons are familiar with asexuality (experiencing no attraction to others of any gender). Three in five Gen Z (58%) know a great deal or a fair amount about asexuality, compared to just 14% of Baby Boomers.
- Less than one in ten Britons (7%) know a fair amount about omnisexuality (attraction which is not limited to people of a particular gender, sex or sexual orientation) – but nearly one in five in Gen Z (17%) know a great deal or fair amount about it.
Commenting on the findings, Hannah Shrimpton, Associate Director at Ipsos MORI, said:
These findings show how Britons believe LGBTQ+ communities are on the receiving end of discrimination, but this does not translate so strongly into advocacy around LGBTQ+ rights. And the population is more sexually diverse than we might think, particularly among the younger generations (just about half of Gen Z say they are exclusively attracted to the opposite sex) Younger generations are also more likely to be familiar with a wider spectrum of sexual identities. This diversification and fluidity among Gen Z – across many different factors - is something we’ve seen in Ipsos MORI’s wider generational work in our report Beyond Binary.
- Ipsos MORI interviewed a representative sample of 1,127 British adults aged 18+. Interviews were conducted online from 19th June–22nd June 2020. Data are weighted to match the profile of the population. All polls are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.
- In this survey, Generation Z are defined as those currently aged 18-24; Millennials are defined as those currently aged 25-40; Generation X are defined as those currently aged 41 to 54 and Baby Boomers are defined as those currently aged 55 to 75.
- Due to differences in methodology and question wording, figures on sexual identity should not be seen as comparable with official statistics.
Active Lives Children and Young People Survey 2019/20
Ipsos MORI carried out this survey of pupils in schools on behalf of Sport England during the academic year 2019/20. Sport England commissioned Ipsos MORI to design and carry out the survey to inform Sport England’s strategy and the strategies of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
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