Only 58% of Americans ok with homosexuality

Rip & Roll
The Rip & Roll ad campaign. (Image: Qld Association for Healthy Communities)

I’m not sure why, but I’m surprised by this. New figures from the Pew Research Center show that only 58% of Americans think homosexuality should be accepted, not discouraged. WTF?

This MUST be an exception, not the rule, surely? This is 2011, I’d be stunned if less than 75% of people were ok with homosexuality. Perhaps it’s an American  thing, maybe the rest of the world is just more tolerant? I think the recent Rip & Roll controversy in Queensland showed that only a small but vocal fringe element was behind it all. As Dale Leorke wrote on The Drum: “47 anonymous complaints … clearly don’t stack up against a tirade of 30,000-plus Facebook members”. The majority of Australians, to their credit, supported the ad.

I’m heartened by the youth statistics, however. Of adults aged 18-29, 69% of people were supportive. That’s still far less than ideal, but encouraging. Like all cultural changes, this is a generational thing and in thirty years we’ll be wondering what all the fuss was about.

Of course, I can’t help giggle to myself a little bit when I see these statistics. You see a study conducted in 1996 demonstrated that homophobic men are more likely to be aroused… wait for it… by gay porn! The study divided heterosexual men into two groups: those with homophobic attitudes, and those who were comfortable with homosexuals. A device was then attached to their genitals to measure arousal, and they were shown straight, lesbian and gay porn videos. Both men were turned on by the straight and lesbian porn. But interestingly – and despite claiming otherwise – only the homophobes showed any arousal from the gay porn.

It’s one study, with a sample size of only 64 people, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Perhaps the 42% of Americans who felt homosexuality should be discouraged are closet gays?