What Your Neighbor Believes: Contact, Religion, and Discrimination against LGBTQ Persons – A Cross-National Analysis in 178 Countries
AdvisorOstergard, Robert L., Jr.
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Issues regarding homosexuality and gay rights remains one of the most contested andcontroversial around the world. Alas, in countries with high occurrences of discrimination, asuppression of such individuals’ rights frequently occurs. This study has two purposes. Firstly,employing a content analysis and factor analysis of the U.S. Department of State’s CountryHuman Rights Reports for the year 2012, it develops an original cross-national indicator whichmeasures the level of discrimination toward LGBTQ persons in 52 areas of discrimination and in178 countries around the world. Secondly, employing Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression,it examines a number of variables believed to affect the level of discrimination toward LGBTQpersons. OLS results indicated that countries with higher male populations and less educatedindividuals are more likely to have higher levels of discrimination toward LGBTQ persons.Further, countries with lower GDP per capita, poor human rights practices, high religiositylevels, and strong religious affiliations are also more likely to have higher levels ofdiscrimination toward LGBTQ persons. Interestingly, when introduced as an experimentalindicator in Model 2, results indicated that the greatest predictor of the observed level ofdiscrimination toward LGBTQ persons in countries was societal attitudes (whether peopleminded having a gay neighbor).