Exploring Homophobia in Georgia: Part 2
Who tends to be more homophobic in Tbilisi – men or women? This blog post explores differences in homophobic attitudes between males and females using data from CRRC-Georgia’s survey of Tbilisi residents on the events of May 17, 2013, and shows that men tend to be more homophobic than women. Moreover, the findings show that men are more homophobic when they believe that homosexuality is inborn, rather than acquired.
Through this series of blog posts, homophobia was measured by the question: “[Whom] would you not wish to [be] your neighbor most?” Six answer options were presented on a show card including drug addicts, black people, adherents of a different religion, people holding different political views, homosexuals, and criminals. Respondents were allowed to choose only one answer option. As the chart below shows, for the population of Tbilisi, homosexuals are as undesirable neighbors as criminals or drug addicts.
A simple cross tabulation shows that for men in Tbilisi, homosexuals are the most undesirable neighbors. Criminals are the most undesirable neighbors for 21% of men, while twice as many men (43%) find homosexuals to be the most undesirable neighbors. For women, the picture reverses – 23% of women name homosexuals as the most undesirable neighbors, while twice as many of them (43%) name criminals.
Within the framework of the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) project Homophobia in Georgia: Can it be Predicted? more sophisticated statistical techniques were employed to analyze the relationship between gender and homophobic attitudes, including correlation, Chi-square test, logistic regression, and moderation analysis. A new dummy variable was generated for further analysis based on the neighbor variable, with only two categories: 0 = others, 1 = homosexuals.
Chi-square test of independence confirmed that men are more likely to display homophobic attitudes than women (χ2 (1, n=526)=8,65; p=.003). Correlation analysis also indicated that homophobia is significantly associated with gender, with males showing more homophobic attitudes than females (Kendall’s τ (526) = - .13, p = .001). Finally, as the results of logistic regression showed, gender is a significant predictor of homophobia (eB = 1.81, p = .003) (-2 LL =629.22, Cox and Snell R square = .026 and Nagelkerke R square = .037). A predictive equation was used to determine the probability of reporting homophobic attitudes by men and women. The probability of men being homophobic is 39%, while it is 29% for women.
As moderation analysis further revealed, the relationship between gender and homophobia is moderated by respondents’ perception of the cause of homosexuality, i.e. whether they believe homosexuality is inborn or acquired. Among those who believe that homosexuality is inborn, males demonstrate much higher levels of homophobic attitudes than females (b = 1.021, 95% CI (0.475, 1.566), z= 3.666, p =. 00), while among those who believe that homosexuality is caused by environmental causes, gender is no longer significantly related to homophobia (b = -. 057, p>0 .05).
“Inborn” vs “acquired” homosexuality moderate relationship between homophobia and gender
Why are men more homophobic than women, and why are they even more homophobic when they believe that homosexuality is inborn?
In respect to the first question, it should be noted that this finding is not Georgia-specific: worldwide, studies show that males are more likely to display homophobic attitudes than females (Baker & Fishbein, 1998; Poteat, Espelage & Koenig, 2009). Gender panic theory defines homophobia as males’ fear of and defensiveness against losing so called male privilege. This theory explains this phenomenon through men feeling insecurity in their access to masculine status. When males are not capable of feeling and presenting their masculinity in a rational way, they exhibit homophobic attitudes. According to this theory, homophobia is more prevalent in patriarchal societies with traditional gender roles. Given the prevalence of conservative traditions in Georgia, this finding does not come as a surprise.
What is surprising is that Tbilisi males tend to be more homophobic when they believe that homosexuality is inborn rather than acquired. Logically, if something is beyond a person’s control, it is illogical and counterproductive to blame the person for it. This logic, however, seems not to be working for Tbilisi males who tend to be more homophobic when they think that homosexuals have no control over their sexual orientation. Gender panic theory can, however, help us explain this finding as well: if homophobia is the fear of losing male status and privilege, this fear can be greater when the threatening subject (a homosexual and his or her sexual orientation) is perceived as innate and non-changeable. In contrast, when people believe that homosexuality is acquired, they think that homosexuals can control their sexuality. But when homosexuality is perceived as innate, homosexuals can be considered “wrong”, deeply spoiled people who cannot be “corrected” and thus, only deserve hatred (Douglas, 2002).
While gender panic theory offers a credible explanation of the findings explaining the relationship between respondents’ gender and their homophobic attitudes, we invite you to discuss other potential explanations on our Facebook page.
The next blog post will discuss the relationship between homophobic attitudes and religious service attendance.
Interview by Dustin Gilbreath
By: Dustin Gilbreath
CRRC’s third annual Methodological Conference: Transformations in the South Caucasus and its Neighbourhood
[Note: Social Science in the Caucasus is publishing the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015. This is the third blog post in the series. Click here to see the first and second blog posts in the series.]
[Note: Social Science in the Caucasus is publishing the work of six young researchers who entered CRRC-Georgia’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) in February 2015. This is the second blog post in the series. Click here to see the first blog post.]
CRRC’s Junior Fellowship Program (JFP) was launched in 2009 as a Carnegie Corporation initiative within the CRRC, with the goal of providing on-the-job training opportunities in applied research for young social scientists.
In August 2012 CRRC launched the study of Georgia’s Workforce Development system, commissioned by the World Bank. Document review and key informant interviews have been used as main research methods in this study. On 19th of December, the World Bank office in Tbilisi hosted a workshop which aimed at presenting and validating the preliminary finding...
As Georgians prepare for parliamentary elections set for October 1, 2012, political parties have entered the final stage of the pre-elections race. One of the important attributes of active citizenship and civic engagement is voting in elections. This blog explores Georgians’ attitudes toward voting in elections based on age group and gender differences. In this r...
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Here are some basic tips and tricks we found useful.
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Taking partly free voters seriously: autocratic response to voter preferences in Armenia and GeorgiaDo voters in less than democratic contexts matter or are elections simply facades used to create a veneer of democratic accountability for domestic and international actors? Within the Autocratic Response to Voter Preferences in Armenia and Georgia project, funded by Academic Swiss Caucasus Net, CRRC-Georgia and CRRC-Armenia aimed to help answer this question, at least for Georgia and Armenia. On October 27, Caucasus Survey published the results of the project in a special issue, available here.
On December 1-13, 2016, CRRC-Georgia asked the population of Georgia about their New Year’s plans. Unsurprisingly, people mostly follow established traditions. A large majority (73%) plan to ring in the New Year at home. Nine per cent will meet it in a friend’s or a relative’s home. Meeting the New Year in the street or in a restaurant or a café is not yet common, and only one per cent of people in Georgia plan to do so. Another 15% had not decided in the first half of December where they would celebrate the New Year.
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In the December 2017 CRRC/NDI survey, pollution was the second most commonly named “infrastructural” issue, with 23% of the population choosing it in the respective show card. Only roads were named more often, by 33%. Approximately equal shares of men and women named pollution: 25% of women and 20% of men; similarly, there was no difference in the frequency of naming this issue by age.
The Caucasus Barometer survey regularly asks people, “Which of the following statements do you agree with: “‘People are like children; the government should take care of them like a parent’ or ‘Government is like an employee; the people should be the bosses who control the government.’” Approximately half of the population of Georgia (52%) agreed in 2017 with the former statement and 40% with the latter. Responses to this question have fluctuated to some extent over time, but overall, attitudes are nearly equally split.
In early December 2017, two schoolchildren were killed on Khorava Street in Tbilisi. On May 31st, 2018, Tbilisi City Court announced the decision on the Khorava Street murder case. The announcement caused mass demonstrations led by Zaza Saralidze, a father of one of the murdered children.On June 19-26, 2018, within the EU-funded project “Facilitating Implementation of Reforms in the Judiciary (FAIR)”, CRRC-Georgia conducted a phone survey on people’s knowledge about the Court decision and their evaluation. The survey resulted in 1005 completed interviews, and is representative of the adult Georgian-speaking population of the country. The average margin of error of the survey is 2.8%.