A study into prejudice has found homophobic attitudes are more common than racism. The study will be presented today, 16th January 2009, at the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Blackpool.
In the study, carried out by Occupational Psychology consultancy Shire Professional, 60 people ranging in age from 18 to 65 years were tested on their attitudes towards six areas of diversity - age, ethnic origin, gender, religion, disability and sexual orientation.
Lead researcher Dr Pete Jones, said: "Prejudiced attitudes are incredibly difficult to measure, as in today’s society admitting to racism, sexism or ageism has severe consequences. So to discover people’s real attitudes we measured our participants’ ‘implicit’ attitudes - associations in our minds that we’re not aware that we have - using a set of computer-based tests.
The main prejudice that was revealed related to sexual orientation. Results from the tests classified seven per cent of the participants as being strongly anti-gay and three percent as being anti-Lesbian, a further 35 per cent displayed some anti-gay predilection and 41 per cent some anti-lesbian prejudice. These negative implicit attitudes were stronger than those for age, gender, religion, disability or even ethnic origin, where 28 per cent of the sample showed some prejudice towards Asian people, 25 per cent against Black people and 18 per cent against South East Asian people. Dr Jones said: "Without detracting from the seriousness of the prejudice that still exists against people because of their ethnic origin, the results of our study suggest that being gay or lesbian could be ‘the new black' when it comes to being a victim of prejudice."
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