Global Acceptance of Homosexuality: MAP


A new study from Pew Research surveys the public on whether society should accept homosexuality:

The survey of publics in 39 countries finds broad acceptance of homosexuality in North America, the European Union, and much of Latin America, but equally widespread rejection in predominantly Muslim nations and in Africa, as well as in parts of Asia and in Russia. Opinion about the acceptability of homosexuality is divided in Israel, Poland and Bolivia.

Attitudes about homosexuality have been fairly stable in recent years, except in South Korea, the United States and Canada, where the percentage saying homosexuality should be accepted by society has grown by at least ten percentage points since 2007.

The survey also finds that acceptance of homosexuality is particularly widespread in countries where religion is less central in people’s lives. These are also among the richest countries in the world. In contrast, in poorer countries with high levels of religiosity, few believe homosexuality should be accepted by society.


  1. ratbastard says

    LOL…Mexico beats out the USA.

    Japan 54? Israel 40?

    And China is not a religious society at all, something like 50%+ of Chinese consider themselves Atheist. Yet it rates 21. Notice even the advanced Asian societies rank very low. But interestingly, the Philippines, which is very religious, ranks 73.

    With exception of a few Latin American countries, the nations where Catholicism is dominant rank very high in gay acceptance. The nations where Orthodox dominates rank low. The nations that have a powerful evangelical presence [like the USA in our southern states] rank low.

    African countries rank by far the lowest. And again, Asian societies regardless of how advanced they are, also rank low.

    Israel ranks low. Did this include Arab Israelis? Even if it didn’t, it would still rank low. Israel saw a huge influx of Russians and Eastern Europeans that has transformed their society over the past 20 odd years. Maybe this Eastern European influence is a big part of the reason Israel ranks low.

  2. Francis #1 says

    Not surprising to me, really. Israel is one of those “tolerant” type countries, where they allow LGBT people to live within society but they are clearly not recognized as equal citizens. What is interesting is that in the US, the Jewish community is one of the most clear cut accepting groups.

    Speaking of the US, we’re only a few points ahead of Greece and Japan and equal to Brazil and Mexico, two countries that have some of the worst hate crime rates against LGBT citizens. And even in those countries, there is marriage equality, which we don’t see in the USA, so we really can’t be considered as accepting a nation as those countries. Not a good look, no offense to those nations, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t be where Canada is but we’re not even close.

    Things are improving but this map shows us how far behind the US is to a large portion of the world. Of course, the Middle East, a majority of Asia and Eastern Europe as well as parts of South America, are simply brutal and not getting any better. Such a shame. For as bad as things often are in the States, we’re definitely lucky.

  3. ratbastard says

    Should add:

    ALL the Arab and Muslim dominated societies rank extremely low. Pretty much all of the continent of Africa, both north Africa and sub Saharan Africa, rank the lowest in the world bar none; with the exception of Israel, which still compared to other advanced nations, ranks unusually low.

  4. Francis #1 says

    And how could I forget African countries, wow. So much of the world is still incredibly homophobic and getting even worse. Sometimes we don’t recognize that as we live in more privileged circumstances. We may be behind Mexico and other countries one wouldn’t expect but at least we aren’t living under active threat of being taken from our own homes and beaten and murdered, sanctioned by governments.

  5. says

    When those who note Israel’s low ranking should consider they are surrounded by Arab Countries, some of which has public beheadings for consenting straight couples and hangings of teen age homosexuals in public squares. Israel also has publically funded gay friendly ads from their Official Tourism Office… Howmany Arab countris have that? Keep in mind that Israeli Orthodoc Judaism are extreme and yet powerful. As a Jew, I am proud to see that Israeli Government allow Gay Pride Parades, and several Gay Community Centers that allow Arab youth to take part in their programs.

  6. EchtKultig says

    Very interesting. As for Israel: about 20% there are the Muslim minority (could be a majority in less than 50 years), well over 1/3 of the remaining Jews are orthodox. Those groups are growing faster than the liberals…don’t expect Israel’s 40% to “get better”.
    Nice to see the Philippines ranked higher than I would have expected. Also interesting that the Czech Republic is so different from Poland. I knew they would be somewhat different, but not that much. The Czech might be nominally Slavic, but it seems they are more culturally influenced by Germany. Russia is even worse than I thought it would be.

  7. EchtKultig says

    As for China, well, remember it’s all about preserving the family line there, versus the government’s one-child policy. (Which was probably a good idea for that country, at the time…though not for the reasons they thought. Yes, I will second guess the entire Chinese government!) My impression is many Chinese wouldn’t have a problem with _you_ being gay, but they would have serious problems with their own children being gay.

  8. Paul R says

    I don’t trust this, though I usually trust Pew. I got hit on more in Egypt and Turkey than I do in SF, and they’re both in the single digits. (And yes, I’m well aware that homo activity is often hidden, but these were explicit and not prostitutes.) There are so many variables at play here—did they poll in urban or rural areas, how many people were polled, how educated were they, what questions were asked, were those being polled from the same tribes/castes/races as the pollsters, and so on.

    There are other methodological and coverage issues, but that’s enough from me.

  9. Victor says

    I wonder how this data was collected. Did the Pew Center translate the questions themselves or did they contract with the local surveying firms? (B/c based on how the main Russian survey center – Levada – works in the area of LGBT issues, these numbers would leave me suspicious.) I skimmed the link – and maybe I just missed it – but I didn’t catch exactly how they worked.

  10. EchtKultig says

    Thankfully, as recent gay marriage referendums proved, the US is NOT a defacto theocracy. Though parts of it may be quasi-theocracies. (Utah)

  11. Queer Supremacist says


    Do you seriously believe the US, for all its gross mistakes, is anywhere near as bad as any of the real theocracies? If it were, we wouldn’t be having this discussion in the first place.

  12. Hey Darlin' says

    Fear is a great motivator and I’m not so sure that a public poll would reveal what people really feel, especially in a country with a history of socialism/communism, where people may still remember when you really weren’t supposed to think freely and still fear the repercussions. I think poll numbers can be skewed due to distrust of the government and what the government might really be looking for. Here in the US we sometimes forget what it’s like NOT to speak your mind, but your programmed rhetoric.

  13. Caliban says

    @Paul R, homosexuality is very prevalent in Muslim culture though they often deny it even exists. It’s a result of the very low status of women who are controlled first by their family (father and brothers) and then by their husband. The family’s “honor” rests partly on their virginity until marriage, which makes premarital heterosexual sex for men hard to find. So they turn to men and/or boys for that, all while denying vehemently that it goes on because it doesn’t fit their religious world view.

    That mindset has it that it’s OK to have sex with men but having a gay identity is strictly forbidden and violently repressed. You shouldn’t mistake ease of getting laid in an Arab country for anything even bordering on acceptance of gays.

  14. DB says

    EchtKultig, the Czech Republic has a majority Atheist population while Poland has a heavily Catholic population. So, it is not surprising that the Czech Republic is more loving and pro-human rights than Poland.
    Dark, Indonesia is more than 80% Muslim while Malaysia is only 55% Muslim (with important Buddhist, Hindu, and Protestant minorities). So, it makes sense that Indonesia is more anti-equality than Malaysia.

  15. Fiveht says

    The fact that people are surprised about Mexico having the same attitude as the US (1% higher but I guess that’s within the margin of error) shows how little many people know about contemporary Mexican culture.

  16. ratbastard says


    The U.S. for all it’s flaws IS NOT a theocracy, de facto or otehrwise. It’s a pretty rigidly secular state. This doesn’t mean you can’t mention ‘God’, put up Christmas decorations [or at least you should be able to, even on public property IMHO, and I’m Agnostic], etc. But there is no established, official state religion and the church and state are strictly separated.

  17. ratbastard says


    I was having a little fun poking fun at the U.S. I’m aware of modern Mexican society,culture, politics, economics.

    @Marc B.,

    You’ll notice all the Scandinavian countries, Republic of Ireland, some Eastern Euro countries, and some South American countries like Uruguay [an advanced country] were left out.

  18. jjose712 says

    For once we are first in a positive poll.
    And expect more positives updates on gay aceptance in the future from latin america countries.
    Spain still has some influence in latin american politics, and in the case of gay marriage the influence was clear.
    Of course, there are some big difference. Even if spain is a catholic country the influence of the catholic church is less and less every year, and there’s a big growth in the number of people who declare themselves atheist.
    In latin america the influence of catholic church is higher (with big differences between countries), but the acceptance towards gays is growing (more or less) in almost all latin america countries

  19. ratbastard says


    It’s clear from this survey that:

    Catholic dominated countries [nominal or otherwise] are on average very gay friendly, probably the most gay friendly, along with countries dominated nominally or otherwise by mainstream Protestant faiths.

    Countries dominated by Orthodox Christians are not gay friendly.

    Asia, where MANY people are Atheist in places like China, are very non-gay friendly

    Interestingly, South Korea is seeing one of the best improvement in gay acceptance, and ranks high up compared to almost all other Asian countries, minus Japan. Here’s an interesting tibit about religion in South Korea:

    “Christianity is South Korea’s largest religion, accounting for more than half of all South Korean religious adherents. There are approximately 13.7 million

    Christians[153] in South Korea today, with almost two-thirds of Christians belonging to Protestant churches, while about 37% belong to the Roman Catholic Church. Protestantism has proportionally declined since the 1980s in favour of Roman Catholicism.[154] South Korea is also the second-largest missionary-sending nation, after the United States.[155]”

    Muslim dominated countries are all, according to this survey, extremely non-gay accepting and friendly.

    The Jewish State, Israel, is so-so, but doesn’t have the levels of gay acceptance as advanced western nations.

    Africa is a basket case.

  20. Queer Supremacist says

    Israel’s score was probably brought down by the virulently homophobic ultra-orthodoxim and the fact that there is no civil marriage for anyone.

  21. says


    Francis makes the fundamental mistake of equating open flirting with accepted identity. These “cultures” do not understand the concept of gay identity like we do here in North America. Actually most of the world does NOT get it. We had to create this identity in order to fight for our rights. Those who feel same sex attractions without identifying as gay outnumber largely those of us who identify as such.

    I experienced the same thing when I visited Rwanda this year. Lots of men hit on you but if they were to be polled they’d be the first ones to throw out insults and cast the 1st stones. Don’t fool yourself.

  22. Rallyx says

    Philipines got a high score I see. Well, we’re poor, we are HIGHLY religious, guess we don’t fit the survey’s conclusion.

    I’m kinda happy and confused with my country at the same time. We have so many religious nutjobs here, so much backwards thinking that will make the American west look like Canada, but we gays here are pretty much tolerated.

    One of our biggest and successful stars is an openly gay man, and flamboyant at that. Gays dont also get beaten up when you walk alone in the middle of the night. you might get mugged, robbed, etc. but not because you are gay, but because people here are just desperatefor money.

  23. raleighrob says

    Philippines ranking higher than the US was a shocker here. I’m kinda stunned.

    Spain and Germany appear the two highest but notice they did not rank any Nordic Countries like Norway, Sweden, Iceland or Denmark—those would likely hit the 90% mark I bet! (Maybe New Zealand too if they had ranked it too.)

    Italy’s ranking is fairly high considering it’s like the biggest western European country that still does not even have Civil Unions yet. Hmmmmm.

  24. Jevre says

    There is nothing wrong with encouraging the acceptance homosexuality and bisexuality in society. It certainly won’t hurt anyone. It should be seen as normal and equal to heterosexuality, because it is! A huge benefit to society is that same-sex couples can adopt babies to give them a loving home and family.

  25. revbs says

    There is nothing wrong with encouraging the acceptance homosexuality and bisexuality in society. It certainly won’t hurt anyone. It should be seen as normal and equal to heterosexuality, because it is! A huge benefit to society is that same-sex couples can adopt babies to give them a loving home and family.

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