International Day Against Homophobia - May 17 - Significant Generation Gap between Immigrants - Perception of Homosexuality

    MONTREAL, May 15 /CNW Telbec/ - This morning, for the International Day
Against Homophobia, Fondation Emergence has publicly released results from a
survey conducted in Québec by Léger Marketing on cultural communities'
perceptions of homosexuality.
    The survey shows that second-generation immigrants have a much more
favourable perception of homosexuality than do their parents. For Fondation
Emergence President Mr. Laurent McCutcheon, these results are reassuring.
"This means that with regard to homosexuality, second generation immigrants
support Québec society's values of equality more than their parents do. In the
case where many of these parents come from countries that punish people for
being gay or lesbian, it's a real pleasure to find these young people are
abandoning certain values while adopting those of their host society."

    Perception of the status of homosexuality in country of origin

    As for the perception of the status of homosexuality, 28% of the
first-generation respondents feel that, in their country of origin,
homosexuality is against the law whereas only 5% of their children believe so.
When it comes to religion, 35% of first-generation immigrants think that, in
their country of origin, homosexuality goes against their religion whereas
only 18% of the second generation thinks so. As for personal freedom, that is,
homosexuality as a personal choice, 40% of first-generation respondents are of
this opinion whereas 65% of the second generation believe that it is a matter
of personal choice.
    Still on the topic of the perception of homosexuality in their country of
origin, nearly half of respondents, in other words 48% of the first
generation, believe homosexuality is an illness or a deviant behaviour versus
24% of their children who feel so. Is being gay or lesbian like having any
other sexual orientation? Some 39% of first-generation respondents agree that
it is, versus 69% among the second generation.

    Personal opinion of homosexuality

    After having confirmed respondents' perception of the status of
homosexuality in their country of origin, the survey focused on respondents'
individual perceptions. When asked "Would you say that being gay or lesbian is
like having any other sexual orientation?", 62% of first-generation immigrants
shared this view whereas 86% of the second-generation respondents felt so.
Both generations think that this perception would be less favourable in their
country of origin.

    Homosexuality as something normal

    Half of first-generation immigrants, in other words 50%, believe that
homosexuality is normal, versus 71% of those from the second generation.

    Having a gay or lesbian child

    As a parent, would I be ashamed to tell my family that I have a lesbian
daughter or a gay son? 56% of first-generation respondents and 81%
second-generation respondents would not feel this way.

    The right to marry for same-sex couples

    If a referendum or ballot initiative were held to maintain or abolish the
right for same-sex couples to marry, 49% of first-generation immigrants would
vote to abolish it. However, the weight of their vote would be diminished by
their children's vote since 70% of the latter would vote to maintain this

    Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and religion

    The majority of those asked, that is, 59% of first-generation immigrants
and 74% of second-generation immigrants, feel that discrimination on the basis
of sexual orientation should be prohibited just as discrimination on the basis
of religious beliefs is.

    Being acquainted with gays and lesbians

    The majority of people from cultural communities who were asked say that
they personally know at least one person who is gay or lesbian: 68% of
first-generation immigrants and 90% of the second generation.

    Legal rights organisations

    By and large, first and second-generation immigrants are unfamiliar with
or unaware of legal rights organisations for gays and lesbians in their


    The survey was conducted for the International Day Against Homophobia
pioneered by Fondation Emergence. The campaign for 2009, entitled
Homosexuality Knows No Borders, is aimed at cultural communities. Generally
speaking, immigrants' perception of homosexuality is influenced by the status
of homosexuality in their country of origin. Respondents from African and
Asian countries are clearly less open-minded toward homosexuality than
immigrants from Western Europe are. According to the President of Fondation
Emergence, "the survey truly reflects the status of homosexuality in a
person's country of origin, so there's no need to be alarmed or point fingers.
Newcomers need to be informed of, made aware of, and educated on our country's
values, including the fact that being gay or lesbian is accepted."


    This survey was carried out via telephone interviews by Léger Marketing
among 500 legal-age Québec residents from cultural communities, able to speak
French or English, between March 26 and April 11, 2009. Results have been
weighted according to Statistics Canada's immigration profile. The margin of
error is plus or minus 2.6%, 19 times out of 20. Full survey results are
available at

For further information:

For further information: Richard Rancourt, Director of Communications,
Fondation Emergence, (514) 866-6788, cell: (514) 836-2050; Laurent McCutcheon,
President, 514 522-7614

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Fondation Émergence

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