A new research report published by the National LGBT Federation (NXF) on Tuesday, March 1, reveals positive trends in Ireland surrounding the acceptance of LGBTQ+ identities. The project entitled ‘Across the Spectrum’ concluded that Irish residents largely have a desire to not judge, categorise or prescribe how LGBTQ+ people live their lives.
Researchers surveyed over 700 members of the Irish public over the course of 2021 in order to assess attitudes towards different minority gender and sexual identities. The survey used a ‘feeling thermometer’, whereby participants were asked to rate their feelings on a scale between 0 and 100 with regards to different queer identities.
Key findings from the feeling thermometer include that gay men (89) and lesbian women (87) received the most favourable median ratings, trans men (76) and trans women (76), along with intersex people (73) were rated slightly less favourably, and non-binary people (65) received the lowest median rating. Attitudes towards heterosexual cisgendered men and women were also assessed for comparison purposes, and they received median ratings of 98 and 91 respectively.
Speaking on these results, report author, psychologist and NXF board member Dr Chris Noone said: “While the LGBT+ community is often discussed as if it is a homogenous group, there are, in reality, many LGBT+ communities. We wanted to assess the public’s attitudes towards different LGBT+ communities and, in general, the results of the survey show a broadly positive response towards the different LGBT+ communities.
“However, this positivity is more apparent for those that don’t transgress gender norms; and points to greater support needed for bisexual people, trans and non-binary people and intersex people and greater efforts to challenge these norms,” he added.
Check out our new research report on public attitudes and beliefs in relation to sexuality and gender in Ireland!https://t.co/24HkFV80d1 pic.twitter.com/kXRYcJCQsz
— NXF (@nxfie) March 2, 2022
Attitudes towards conversion therapy and hate crime legislation were also examined in the study, with many positive results emerging.
In relation to the practice of conversion therapy, 49% of participants agreed that “it is impossible to truly change one’s sexual orientation”, with 64% agreeing that “The Government should prohibit the promotion or practice of conversion therapy by health professionals in Ireland”.
"We must remind people that #ConversionTherapy has been classified as a form of torture." – Ailsa Spindler from @GayProjectIRL #ZeroDiscriminationDay pic.twitter.com/ZLHKECaiJ7
— Gay Community News (@GCNmag) March 1, 2022
There was also strong support for the introduction of hate crime legislation, with 90% of participants agreeing that the Government should ensure that incitement to hatred and hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people should be adequately addressed in outlaws.
Adam Long of the NXF responded to the research findings, stating: “It is especially encouraging to see such overwhelming public support for effective LGBT+ inclusive Hate Crime legislation and a ban on the dangerous and discredited practice of so-called ‘conversion therapy’ – two key policy priorities for the NXF in 2022.
“Once again we see that the Irish public firmly supports socially progressive change and reform.”
A key figure from our Report: 90% support effective Hate Crime laws to protect LGBT+ communities.
There is a huge public mandate to end Ireland’s status as an outlier and finally legislate on this crucial issue. #ZeroDiscriminationDay @GCNmag ?️?
— NXF (@nxfie) March 1, 2022
Other statistics of note include 54% of those surveyed agreeing that “people who say there are only two genders are mistaken”, and only 26% agreeing that heterosexual couples make the best parents.
The official launch of the new NXF research report took place virtually last night in partnership with GCN and the Tides Foundation. Hosted by Anna Nolan, researchers commented further on the key findings, while members from various Irish LGBTQ+ organisations such as Bi+ Ireland, LINC, TENI, Gay Project, and LGBT Ireland also responded to the study’s conclusions.
You can watch the launch below; read or download the full report here.
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