Age, and Brexit, gap on attitudes to gay sex

Older people are less likely to support gay sex, gay parenthood, and inclusive relationship education, the survey said
Older people are less likely to support gay sex, gay parenthood, and inclusive relationship education, the survey said

Four in 10 Britons believe that gay sex is unnatural – 50 years after homosexuality was partially decriminalised in the UK, a survey has suggested.

The poll carried out for PinkNews found that, of those who have an opinion, 42% of people agreed that personally speaking, gay sex is not natural.

The Sexual Offences Act 1967 which decriminalised homosexuality in England and Wales achieved Royal Assent exactly half a century ago.

Just under half of those surveyed (48%), believe that primary school children, aged five to 11, should not be taught about gay relationships in school.

More than one third (36%, excluding those who said “don’t know”) generally disapprove of gay men becoming parents via surrogacy or adoption.

The poll suggested that Conservative and Brexit supporters were more likely to oppose gay rights than Labour or Remain voters.

It found three in five Brexit voters believe gay sex is unnatural, with 59% of those expressing an opinion believing gay sex is unnatural, compared to 25% of Remain voters.

Approximately 68% of Brexit voters expressing an opinion said children should not be taught about gay relationships in primary school, compared to 29% of Remain voters.

While half (50%) of Leave voters do not approve of gay men becoming parents, compared to 78% of Remain voters who generally approve.

Approximately 68% of Conservative voters who expressed an opinion believe that children should not be taught about gay relationships in primary school, compared to 70% of Labour and 74% of Liberal Democrat 2017 voters who believe that such relationships should be taught in primary schools.

The survey revealed generational divides in attitudes towards gay issues – with older people less likely to support gay sex, gay parenthood, and inclusive relationship education.

Approximately three in four (78%) of people aged 18 to 24 who expressed an opinion believe that gay sex is natural, while 69% of those aged 65 and above believe that gay sex is unnatural.

Some 75% of those aged 65 plus were opposed to same-sex inclusive relationship education compared with 74% of those aged 18 to 24 who supported the policy.

Meanwhile, 64% of those aged 65 plus opposed gay men becoming parents, compared to 84% of those aged 18-24 who were in favour.

PinkNews chief executive Benjamin Cohen said: “It is depressing that 50 years on from the Sexual Offences Act that so many people still think that gay sex is unnatural, and that a third oppose gay couples having children.

“It is gratifying though to know that for younger people, gay relationships are considered perfectly natural and they strongly support gay parents and teaching young people about gay relationships.”

He continued: “It has long been suggested that Brexit supporters would be likely to be anti-LGBT rights but now we know that there is a potential correlation with voting for Brexit and opposing gay rights.”

The YouGov poll of 1,609 adults was carried out online between July 23 and 24.