Tolerance, Acceptance, or Ambivalence?: Changing Expressions of Attitudes towards Homosexuals in Barbados
- 80 Downloads
This article sought to establish whether the perception and understanding of homosexuality among Barbadians has changed. It specifically investigated whether there was evidence of change in attitudes to different categories of relationships with homosexuals, Barbadians’ knowledge of the meaning of homosexual, their self-described attitude to homosexuals, and their attitude on the decriminalization of same-sex intimacy. The analysis utilized secondary data from two national surveys on attitudes to homosexuality conducted in 2004 and 2013. A two-tailed two-proportion z test was used to determine whether the observed changes were significant with p < .05. It was found that compared with 2004, significantly more people understood homosexual to mean someone liking the same sex. Significant changes were also observed in levels of acceptance and support for decriminalization of same-sex intimacy. There were significant declines in persons indicating that they would prefer not to have homosexuals as friends, family, children, employee, employer, teacher, or public official. This shift was accompanied by significant changes in those uncertain about they felt about such relationships. Only in the categories of family and child was there a significant increase in respondents indicating they would not mind having such a relationship. The results demonstrate that Barbadian’s level of acceptance increased although not to the point of supporting decriminalization of same-sex intimacy. The paper assesses the implications of the findings for the possible policy change within the country.
KeywordsAttitudes to homosexuals Homosexuality Decriminalization of same-sex activity Anglophone Caribbean
- Abramschmitt, C. (2008). Is Barbados ready for same-sex marriage?: Analysis of legal and social constructs. Social and Economic Studies, 57(2), 61–88.Google Scholar
- ARC International (2009). ARC International 3rd Universal Periodic Review Session: Date of Rewiew: Wednesday, 3 December, 2008. Document Number: A/HRC/10/73. Retrieved June 25, 2014, from http://arc-international.net/global-advocacy/universal-periodic-review/b/Barbados.
- Atluri, T. (2001). When the closet is a region: Homophobia, heterosexism and nationalism in the commonwealth Caribbean. Centre for Gender and Development Studies University of the West Indies (Cave Hill) working paper series (5). Barbados: Centre for Gender and Development Studies Working Paper Series.Google Scholar
- Caribbean Development Research Services Inc. (CADRES). (2013a). Attitudes towards homosexuals in Barbados 2013. Bridgetown: CADRES.Google Scholar
- Caribbean Development Research Services Inc. (CADRES). (2013b). Attitudes towards homosexuals in Guyana 2013. Bridgetown: CADRES.Google Scholar
- Caribbean Development Research Services Inc. (CADRES). (2004). Attitudes toward homosexuals in Barbados 2004. Bridgetown: CADRES.Google Scholar
- Carr, R. (2003). On ‘judgements’: Poverty, sexuality-based violence and human rights in 21st century Jamaica. The Caribbean Journal of Social Work, 2, 71–87.Google Scholar
- Chadee, D., Joseph, C., Peters, C., Siew Sankar, V., Nair, N., & Phillip, J. (2013). Religiosity, and attitudes towards homosexuals in a Caribbean environment. Social and Economic Studies, 62(1), 1–28.Google Scholar
- Chambers, C., & Chevannes, B. (1991). Report on focus groups: Sexual decision-making project. Kingston: Institute of Social Economic Research.Google Scholar
- Cowell, N. (2011). Public discourse, popular culture and attitudes towards homosexuals in Jamaica. Social and Economic Studies, 60(1), 31–60.Google Scholar
- Crawford, C. (n.d.). ‘It’s a girl thing’: Problematizing female sexuality, gender and lesbophobia in Caribbean culture. critical essay (Barbados). Retrieved December 1, 2017, from Caribbean Homophobias: http://www.caribbeanhomophobias.org/itsagirlthing.
- Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 (UK).Google Scholar
- Dann, G. (1987). The Barbadian male: Sexual attitude and practice. London: MacMillan Publishers Ltd..Google Scholar
- Deacon, B., Hulse, M., & Stubbs, P. (1997). Global social policy: International organisations and the future of welfare. London: Sage.Google Scholar
- Deane, S. (2016). Gay blow: AG rules out same-sex marriages. Retrieved August 16, 2016, from Barbados Today: http://www.barbadostoday.bb/2016/06/07/gay-blow/.
- Gallup Inc (2016). Gay and lesbian rights. Retrieved October 9, 2016 from Gallup: http://news.gallup.com/poll/1651/gsy-lesbian-rights.aspx.
- Gaskins, J. (2013). ‘Buggery’ and the commonwealth Caribbean: A comparative examination of the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. In C. Lennox & M. Wiates (Eds.), Human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity in the commonwealth: Struggles for decriminalisation and change (pp. 429–454). London: Institute of Commonwealth Studies Human Rights Consortium.Google Scholar
- Griffith, A., & Wickham, P. (2016). Attitudes towards homosexuals in Trinidad & Tobago and the southern Caribbean. Sargasso Journal Issue on Love: Hope: Community: Sexualities and Social Justice, 2014-2015(1&2), 107–128.Google Scholar
- Haynes, T., & DeShong, H. (2017). Queering feminist approaches to gender-based violence in the Anglophone Caribbean. Social and Economic Studies, 66(1&2), 105–131.Google Scholar
- Home Office Scottish Home Department. (1957). Report of the committee on homosexual offences and prostitution. In Command paper 247. London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office.Google Scholar
- Jamaican Observer Column (2014). The Morality Debate Continues. Retrieved 10 16, 2014, From the Jamaican observer newspaper: http://www.jamaicanobserver.com/columns/The-morality-debate-continues_17742201.
- Local Government Act (1988) (UK).Google Scholar
- Madden, M. (2018). Gay push: UN meeting puts pressure on Barbados to embrace same sex unions. Retrieved January 18, 2018, from Barbados Today: https://www.barbadosoday.bb/2018/01/19/gay-push/.
- Murray, D. (2012). Flaming souls: Homosexuality, homophobia, and social change in Barbados. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.Google Scholar
- NatCen Social Research (2013). British Attitudes Report 30. Retrieved July 18, 2014, from http://www.bsa-30.natcen.ac.uk/read-the-report/personal-relationships/homosexuality.aspx.
- Offences Against the Person Act 1891 (UK) §61–62.Google Scholar
- Offences Against the Person (Amendment) Act Cap 141 (Barbados) (2014). Google Scholar
- Oxford University Press (2018). Oxford English Dictionary Online. Retrieved January 1, 2018, From Oxford dictionaries online: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/colonialism.
- Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Act (1991) (The Bahamas).Google Scholar
- Sexual Offences Act (n.d.) (Barbados) Cap 154.Google Scholar
- Sexual Offences Act 2000 (T&T) (n.d.) (Chapter 11:28).Google Scholar
- Sexual Offences Act 1967 Chapter 60 (UK).Google Scholar
- Smith, T., & Jaesok, S. (2013). Trends in public attitudes about sexual morality. General social survey 2012 Final Report. Chicago: NORC/University of Chicago.Google Scholar
- Thompson, R. (2010). Homosexuality debate rages in Barbados. Retrieved October 16, 2014, from Nation News: www.nationnews.com/nationnews/news/37208/homosexuality-debate-rages-barbados.
- Trinidad & Tobago Ministry of the People and Social Development (2011). Norms and values report: A nationwide study on the degree of conformity of social norms and values in Trinidad & Tobago. Retrieved August 15, 2015, From section 9: Perceptions of homosexuality: https://gspottt.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/social-norms-volume-2-final.pdf.
- Trinidad Guardian (2014). PM: Gay rights not legally possible. Retrieved August 15, 2015, from http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/2014-09-26/pm-gay-rights-not-legally-possible.
- Walrond, E. R. (June 2004). Report on the legal, ethical and socio-economic issues relevant to HIV/AIDS in Barbados: A consultation for the Attorney General’s office Barbados. Bridgetown: Government of Barbados.Google Scholar
- Yeates, N. (2001). Globalisation and social policy. London: Sage.Google Scholar