Slow acceptance of LGBTQI community shows in recent research: Eurobarometer 2023 | Háttér Society

Slow acceptance of LGBTQI community shows in recent research: Eurobarometer 2023

Lassú magyar nyitás az LMBTQI közösség elfogadása felé: Eurobarométer 2023

Compared to 2019, the acceptance of the LGBTQI community in Hungary has shown a tentative increase. More and more people are aware that LGBTQI people face exclusion, with a coextensive increase in the number of people who would feel comfortable in the company of an LGBTQI person in different areas of life. More Hungarians are also in favour of young people learning about minority identities.

Eurobarometer is a public opinion survey tool used by the European Commission, the European Parliament and other EU institutions and agencies to monitor shifts in European public opinion on issues related to the EU and attitudes to political or social issues. 

The research, published at the end of 2023, assesses discrimination on different grounds in the European Union. More than half of respondents said that discrimination on the grounds of Roma origin (65%), skin colour (61%), ethnic origin (60%), gender identity (57%) or sexual orientation (54%) is widespread in their country. The survey has also published Hungary-specific results, which we will now summarise, comparing them with the 2019 responses on LGBTQI issues. 

The first question asks respondents about the prevalence of discrimination: how often or rarely they think someone is excluded because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. From the 2019 and 2023 data, it is striking that more and more people know that trans and intersex people suffer discrimination: the number of people who answered 'don't know' and 'none at all' to this question has decreased. The introduction of regulations in recent years that discriminate against the LGBTQI community (propaganda law, restrictions on adoption, rendering legal gender recognition impossible) has led to a clear increase in the number of Hungarian respondents who believe that LGBTQI people are subjects to widespread exclusion and discrimination. 

When asked about their day-to-day working relationship, respondents' attitudes towards trans and intersex people showed a slow advancement between 2019 and 2023, with a 4% increase in the number of people who were moderately comfortable and an 11% increase in the number who would feel comfortable if their colleague was trans or intersex. Majority society was already more open to the idea of lesbian, gay and bisexual colleagues, with only 33% saying they would be uncomfortable with a colleague of this sexual orientation. This has fallen by 7 percentage points in 2023 (26%). 

Moving closer to the family, both groups start from a high level of rejection: in 2019, 60% expressed disapproval of their child having a transgender or intersex partner and 57% would not  welcome a same-sex partner. 

These figures show an improvement (-2% and -6%), although the number of people who would feel comfortable in such a situation is still low (25% and 31%). 

Hungarians support census research on "sensitive" personal data (such as ethnicity, religion, health status) to enable effective action against discrimination in all areas except gender identity and sexual orientation.

When looking for a job, only 23% consider it a disadvantage to be transgender and 24% think that being different from the majority sexual orientation could be a problem. Discrimination based on gender identity is seen as a barrier by 29% of the EU27 average. The Hungarian figures have increased since 2019, which, taken in context with previous data, suggests that the population is becoming more aware of how exclusion affects certain social groups. 

The most devastating results are the answers for the question asking respondents whether information on certain topics should be included in school lessons and curricula. Here, Hungarian public opinion is without exception at least 10 percentage points higher than the EU27 average in rejecting all topics (experience of disability, racism, history of anti-Semitism in European countries and the Holocaust, religions and beliefs, Roma culture and history). Here, the same level of rejection is found for diverse gender identities (such as transgender identities) and sexual orientations as a school subject: both are opposed by 49% of Hungarians. However, this result is also an improvement on the 2019 figures, where 55% opposed information on multiple gender identities and 51% opposed the LGB topic. 

"Social recognition of the exclusion minority groups face is an important indicator. The fact that more and more Hungarians are aware of the disadvantages LGBTQI people face is a result of the restrictive laws of recent years, but also because more and more LGBTQI people are coming out in our country, as they share their experiences. It's heartbreaking when a loved one tells you during an evening conversation that they were shouted at on the street or bullied at work," said Luca Dudits, executive board member of Háttér Society.

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