China is increasingly opening up to gays and lesbians with a new survey showing 59 per cent of Chinese people saying the society should accept homosexuals.
Fifty-nine per cent of 2,400 city residents interviewed in a survey said that society should accept homosexuals while 21 per cent said they know gay people, state-run Global Times reported today.
On same-sex marriage, 40 per cent of respondents supported the idea and 19 per cent opposed.
The survey, on the social acceptance towards LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people, was done by the Shanghai LGBT Professionals and Work For LGBT and Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).
City residents aged 18 years and above were surveyed in November online and through mobile. The survey showed that Chinese people are more positive towards LGBT people.
Only 4 per cent of the respondents said they have no opinion on LGBT people while 40 per cent of those surveyed remained neutral.
Ah Qiang, a well-known gay rights activist and founder of PFLAG China said the report revealed that gay people can win more acceptance and understanding by socialising with others.
On equal employment opportunities, 80 per cent of those surveyed were in favour and only 5 per cent opposed it.
Zhang Beichuan, a prominent scholar on homosexuality, said the survey indicates that Chinese society has made great progress in accepting homosexuals in the past 20 years but many people still lack an understanding of gay people.
“The general public’s acceptance does not mean they fully understand the LGBT groups,” Zhang said, adding, that the majority of Chinese people may accept homosexuals in society but they would be opposed to the idea of having gay family members.
Zhang said China should introduce homosexuality courses to its education system as many young gay people’s knowledge about homosexuality is rudimentary and some even get infected with HIV through unprotected sex.
A report on the state of HIV and AIDS in China released this month shows that China has more than 7,000 students who are either HIV carriers or AIDS patients while 64.8 per cent of them contracted the virus through sex with people of the same gender, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.