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Indians more friendly towards gays & lesbians

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Abu Dhabi, Dec 26 (IANS) In a major break away from global view towards gay men and lesbian women, who since time immemorial have been targets of society’s persecution and violence, a new study says in India the outlook towards the third gender is changing.

“In India and China, the reverse pattern emerged. Those who were highest on endorsement of traditional gender roles were the most positive toward gay men and lesbian women,” said study researcher Maria Laura Bettinsoli from New York University in UAE.

While the new research showed that gay men were even more disliked than their women counterparts as revealed in the results, published in the journal BMC Pediatrics, the study also suggested that the negative attitudes were guided by the perception that gays and lesbians violate traditional gender norms.

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In three countries, China, India, and South Korea, the correlation between beliefs in gender norms and attitudes towards gays and lesbians was absent or even reversed, the research added.

“We found that, in line with previous research, the endorsement of gender norms was associated with anti-gay attitudes–toward both gay men and lesbian women–in every Western country in our sample,” said Bettinsoli.

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The research team assessed attitudes towards gay men and lesbian women separately, noting that most research focuses on homosexuality as a broad category and doesn’t separate attitudes by gender.

They were surprised at how consistently gay men were rated more negatively than lesbian women in a vast majority of their samples.

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They were also surprised “at the consistency of the relationship between gender norm endorsement and sexual prejudice,” said Bettinsoli.

“Even though there were some non-Western countries that did not conform to the pattern, the majority of countries did,” Bettinsoli added.

These findings were true for western countries including Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the US.

The same was true for Russia, South Africa, and Turkey too.

In South Korea, the researchers saw that endorsement of gender norms was unrelated to attitudes toward gays and lesbians, and in Japan, there was a small association between gender norm endorsement and attitudes toward gay men, but not towards lesbian women.

While some of the countries show friendlier attitudes towards gays and lesbians, the researchers noted that even in the more tolerant places discriminatory attitudes still exist.

–IANS

bu/in

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