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Study: Use politicians, employers in new 'strategy' to address attitudes towards gays

Published:Wednesday | April 13, 2016 | 4:00 AM

Jamaican employers and politicians have more "positive and open" attitudes towards some gay issues than the general public, and interests groups such as the gay lobby are being encouraged to leverage that perception to their benefit.

Market Research Services Ltd made the recommendation in the 2015 Awareness, Attitude & Perception Survey about Issues Related to Same-Sex Relationships, conducted for Jamaica's leading gay lobby, the Jamaica Forum of Lesbians, All-Sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG).

The survey of employers, politicians, and members of the general public was done between June and July last year.

RESULTS POSITIVE

It has returned some results which the researchers believe are "positive" and can be used by J-FLAG to develop a "strategy" to address the general negative attitudes towards same-sex issues.

For example, employers (39 per cent) and politicians (42 per cent) appeared to be more open to the idea of expanding the meaning of sexual intercourse than the general public.

The level of tolerance is also higher among politicians and employers than the members of the general public.

Meanwhile, although the majority of employers and politicians shared the view that gays experience the 'same emotions' as heterosexuals, the majority of the general public disagreed.

The researchers say the favourable results should prompt "J-Flag and other similar interest groups to consider first engaging employers and politicians in discussions".

"These entities (employers and politicians) are opinion leaders and influencers on the general public. Positive attitudes among these groups may be leveraged to advantageously impact attitudes among the general public," Market Researchers Services argued.

The survey involved a sample group of 1,003 comprising 33 politicians, 28 employers, and 942 people from the general populace.

It covered all parishes and has a margin of error of plus/minus three per cent.