Poll Indicates Gays Gaining Acceptance in Some Circles

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Poll Indicates Gays Gaining Acceptance in Some Circles

Is homosexuality an accoptable sexual orientation or is it a perversion? Ever since television celebrity Hong Sook-chon acknowledged his homo-sexuality, controversy has raged on the subject. In the past, this issue was considered so taboo that it was discussed by only a small minority of Koreans. However, the current wide-ranging discussion shows just how much attitudes have changed. Even so, there are still many Koreans who are ambivalent about homosexuals.

Most Koreans regard homosexuality as immoral, but at the same time they do not favor discrimination, according to a recent JoongAng Ilbo telephone survey.

Pollsters questioned 1,039 people aged 20 and above on Oct. 6. Slightly more than one third(34 percent) of the respondents said homosexuality is "acceptable" but the majority said it is "wrong."

Opinions varied according to age, gender and level of education. Those in their 20s, women and college graduates tended to take a more favorable view of homosexuality, while men in their 50s who did not attend high school or college were more likely to describe homosexuality as a "serious wrong."

In response to the poll, 14 percent said that they were capable of homosexual love.

Most respndents said that homosexuals should not be discriminated against socially, or limited in terms of career choices. The majority of those polled agreed that the human rights of homosexuals were violated(78 percent) and that they were subject to social prejudice(82 percent). Eighty-three percent said that homosexuals should have equal rights with regard to employment.

Such views are reflected in the response to Hong's dismissal from his job after he revealed his sexual orientation: 59 percent felt the dismissal was unfair, while 40 percent said it was justified.

The more personal the question, the less likely the respondents were to give answers which showed tolerance of homosexuality. Only 29 percent said they could handle a situation in which they discovered that a family member was gay.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents cited environmental factors as the main cause of homosexuality, 16 percent said genetic factors were primarily responsible and the remaining 16 percent cited both. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 precent.

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