Most say gays are ok, as long as they're not family

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 February, 2006, 12:00am

Up to 80 per cent of people are accepting of homosexuals as colleagues, neighbours and friends but only 40 per cent will accept them as family members, a government survey has found.

More than half of the 2,040 respondents agreed the government should ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, but 34.5 per cent said the government should not introduce such legislation.

When asked in the phone survey whether legislation should be introduced specifically in the fields of education, employment and the provision of goods and services, between 37 and 42 per cent said yes.

About 47 per cent agreed homosexuals were psychologically normal, while 42 per cent disagreed. About 39 per cent believed homosexuality 'contradicts the morals of the community', while 49 per cent disagreed. About 71 per cent said homosexuals were discriminated against in Hong Kong.

Roddy Shaw Kwok-wah, of Civil Rights for Sexual Diversities, said some results, such as on support for legislation, were confusing, which may have been the result of badly formulated survey questions.

He also called on the government to explain the discrepancy in results between people who had contact with homosexuals and those who did not.

Wayne Yeh, of MVA Hong Kong, which carried out the survey, said there was a direct correlation between whether people had contact with homosexuals and whether they thought discrimination against them was a problem.

Stephen Fisher, the Home Affairs Bureau's acting permanent secretary, said the full report would be presented to the Legislative Council home affairs panel on March 10. He said the results would 'form the basis for further consideration, to see whether public education in itself is sufficient and, if not, how should we take it forward'.

'This was not a referendum and the results will not dictate what we will be doing,' he said. 'This is a study about public attitudes.'

Mr Fisher said the bureau may consider further researching the extent of discrimination against sexual minorities by commissioning a study focusing on victims.

Meanwhile, members of the bureau's Sexual Minorities Forum, gave an unwelcome reception to representatives from the New Creation Association who attended the meeting of non-governmental organisations and academics.

They said the association, a Christian group that counsels homosexuals and provides assistance to those who wish to try to change their sexual orientation, did not belong in a forum meant to advance the rights of homosexuals to equal opportunity because it 'destroyed' people of different sexual orientation. But the association's Chan Ka-leung said: 'We do not force anybody to change their sexual orientation - the requests are made voluntarily by our clients.'