Alpha Research poll: Positive attitude towards LGBTI people in Bulgaria is growing

In general, the attitudes of Bulgarians towards LGBTI people are overwhelmingly neutral, according to an Alpha Research poll commissioned by the GLAS Foundation and conducted in autumn 2023, a media statement on January 30 said.

The statement said that the trend established in previous poll was continuing, that with the expansion of personal contacts with LGBTI people, a positive attitude towards the representatives of the community also increases.

The largest section of those polled (46 per cent) think that a person who identifies as LGBTI “is like each of us”, and among the leading characteristics with which they are associated are “brave, standing up for their identity” (18 per cent), “educated” (16 per cent), “creative people” (15 per cent), “with good professions” (12 per cent).

The most commonly shared negative association is “flaunting their difference” (24 per cent).

The statement said that the poll established “an increased familiarity of Bulgarian citizens with LGBTI people, with their problems, rights and motivation”.

The survey is part of the Voices of the Community project implemented by the GLAS Foundation, in partnership with the Bilitis Foundation, Association of European Journalists-Bulgaria and Oslo Pride, and with financial support provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the Financial Mechanism of EEA.

The main goal of the project is to overcome negative stereotypes towards LGBTI people through a communication campaign, seminars and trainings.

The leading sources of information are conversations with friends and acquaintances (38 per cent), posts on social networks (33 per cent), news broadcasts in the media (30 per cent) and information/news sites (29 per cent).

However, it is extremely important how much trust there is in these sources, the statement said.

In three of the leading sources, the survey found a high degree of trust – in conversations with relatives, news broadcasts in the media, news sites. The fourth actively used information channel – posts in social networks – has a significantly lower degree of trust.

One of the factors that strongly influence the attitude towards LGBTI people is personal experience in communicating with them: 35 per cent say they know people who identify as homosexual, 25 per cent bisexual, six per cent know someone who identifies as LGBTI.

Fifteen per cent said that they personally know same-sex couples.

Personal communication with LGBTI people and better familiarity are a prerequisite for a better understanding of the problems they face, the statement said.

For example, 68 per cent believe that if there is a pupil with a homosexual orientation in the upper grades at school, he will be the object of ridicule, against eight per cent who are of the opinion that it would influence others to choose such an identity.

According to a significant proportion of LGBTI people polled, they encounter hostile attitudes in various life situations.

According to 47 per cent – when openly declaring their identity, according to 46 per cent – when they are in public places, 36 per cent – when raising a child, 33 per cent – at school, 31 per cent – when looking for a job.

At the same time, there is a tendency to weaken the influence of extremely hostile and frankly manipulative theses, the spread of which also served to stigmatize LGBTI people.

Thirty-six per cent disagree that homosexuality and transgender identity are mental disorders, versus 25 per cent who agree; 37 per cent disagree that this identity is only a “Western phenomenon”, versus 25 per cent agree; 39 per cent reject the thesis that LGBTI people are “paedophiles”, against only 16 per cent who still tend to agree with that allegation.

“The positive trends registered, although still timid, show the changing public attitudes towards LGBTI people,” the statement said.

However, support for policies important to the community, and specifically, settling the status of same-sex couples, remains limited (34 per cent approve vs. 27 per cent disapprove and 39 per cent who do not take a specific position). Higher support comes from the residents of Sofia and big cities, the highly educated, women, and those of middle age (40-49).

The data are from a survey representative of the adult population of the country, conducted by the Alpha Research agency in November 2023 among a sample of 1000 people by the method of direct standardized interview with tablets.

(Photo: Sofia Pride 2023)

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