Global liberalization on homosexuality: Explaining the African gap

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13 Scopus citations


We are trapped in two divergent worlds when it comes to global views on homosexuality. There is the liberal world epitomized by Spain and other nations, where homosexuality is increasingly accepted; gays and lesbians are claiming their human rights; and laws are changing to codify that transformation. The second is the extremely anti-gay world symbolized by Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia, where attitudes are favorable to criminalization. This research explains the “African Gap” in attitudes toward homosexuality in a comparative analysis of six African nations and Argentina and Canada, South and North America's most liberal nations on gay rights. Using Pew's 2015 Spring Global Attitudes Survey data, we find that the major variables have essentially similar effects on opinion in any context. Africa's distinction is explained by its comparatively higher levels of factors such as religion, morality dogma, and low socioeconomic status that generally retard support for homosexuality, at the same time of lower levels of factors such as education, urbanization, and personal liberty that increase gay support. Africa's extreme anti-gay outlook is mutable. Two social forces will facilitate this softening: expansion of liberalizing agents such as education and urbanization, and repositioning away from “traditionalism” toward modernism emphasizing individualism, civil rights, and personal liberties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-131
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Science Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2017


  • Africa
  • Anti-gay
  • Argentina
  • Canada
  • Gay rights
  • Homosexuality
  • LGBTI Africa
  • Support homosexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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