WASHINGTON – Most people in European nations say their community is a welcoming place for gays and lesbians, according to a poll released on Wednesday that also showed many in African countries see their homelands as hostile to homosexuals.
The Gallup survey of more than 100,000 people in 123 countries found just 1 to 2 percent of those polled in Senegal, Uganda, Mali and Ethiopia see their nations as gay-friendly in a continent where same-sex relationships are still largely taboo.
One exception appeared to be South Africa, the only country on the continent where same-sex marriage is legal. Nearly half of those polled there said their community was hospitable to gays, although slightly more than half disagreed.
“As much of Africa continues to struggle with human rights for all residents, few in the region believe their communities are good places for gay or lesbian people. Anti-gay sentiment is apparent,” the polling organization said.
The poll found 83 percent of those in the Netherlands said it was a “good place” for gays and lesbians to live, followed by 82 percent in Iceland, 79 percent in Spain, 77 percent in the United Kingdom and 75 percent in Ireland.
Eighty percent of Canadians said their community was welcoming, according to Gallup.
Just 3 in 10 of those surveyed worldwide said their community is “a good place” for gays and lesbians to live. The ratio was 70 percent in the United States, which ranked 12th among the countries surveyed.
Gary Gates, a researcher at University of California at Los Angeles School of Law’s Williams Institute who focuses on demographics and gender issues, said: “These latest findings show that for many lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered (LGBT) people around the world, being open about their sexual orientation or gender identity likely comes with substantial risk.”
The U.S. State Department has routinely cited numerous African countries for gross human rights violations, including against lesbians and gays. Those in same-sex relationships are often still targeted for discrimination and violence, according to its annual Human Rights Practices report.
Another Gallup poll earlier this month showed more people who identify as LGBT report lower overall well-being.
Wednesday’s poll, based on data from face-to-face interviews between 2009 and 2013, had a margin of error of between 2.1 percentage points and 5.6 percentage points, depending on the country.