How widespread is homophobia in Georgia?

[Note: This piece was co-published with OC Media. This article was written by Dustin Gilbreath, Deputy Research Director at CRRC Georgia. The views presented in this article do not represent the views of UN Women, CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.]

Homophobia is widespread in Georgia. The homophobic riots that occurred on the International Day against Homophobia in 2013 and the bedlam that took place surrounding the planning of the 2019 Pride Parade exemplify this.

The 2019 Caucasus Barometer survey asked two questions proxying homophobia. The first asked whether or not people would approve of someone like them doing business with a homosexual. The second asked people to name the group that they would least like to have as neighbours from a list of different groups, including homosexuals, criminals, people following a different religion, people with different political views, Europeans or Asians who come to live in Georgia and want to stay, and drug addicts.

Nearly nine in ten people (87%) would disapprove of a person like them doing business with a homosexual. By comparison 24% of the public reports they would least like a homosexual as a neighbour among the groups asked about.

Aside from asking about doing business with homosexuals, the survey asked the same question about 18 ethnic and religious groups. More people approved of doing business with every other group asked about on the survey. Indeed, the only other group that people are remotely as negative about are Jehovah’s Witnesses who 81% of people disapprove of people like them doing business with.

A majority of the public approves of people of their ethnicity doing business with all the other groups asked about on the survey.  The average share of people that approve of groups aside from homosexuals is 65%.

The above data lead to the question of who is more or less likely to be tolerant towards homosexuals? The data suggest that people in Tbilisi, ethnic Georgians, those with more education, women, people in wealthier households, and younger people are all more likely to approve of someone like them doing business with a homosexual.

There is not a significant difference between people who are employed or not or use the internet more or less often. The charts below show the differences controlling for these factors.

The question about neighbours shows a slightly different picture. On this question, there are significant differences between ethnic minorities and ethnic Georgians, men and women, and between settlement types.

People outside Tbilisi are seven percentage points more likely to name homosexuals as the group they would least like to have as neighbours. Ethnic minorities are 12 percentage points less likely to name homosexuals than ethnic Georgians. Women are 11 percentage points less likely to name homosexuals than men. The remaining variables tested showed no significant differences.

The above shows that homophobia is relatively widespread in Georgia. Men are more likely to be homophobic than women. So are ethnic minorities more than ethnic Georgians. Younger people, those with more education, and wealthier people express homophobic attitudes less often though still frequently.

The data used for the analysis presented in the article is available here. Replication code for the data analysis is available here.

The data analysis presented in this article made use of a logistic regression. The outcome variables were whether or not an individual approved of someone like them doing business with a homosexual and whether or not they named homosexuals as their least desired neighbour. The independent variables included sex (male or female), age, settlement type (capital, other urban, and rural), employment status (working or not), years in formal education, ethnicity (minority or not), internet usage (daily user or not), and wealth proxied by the number of assets a family-owned from a list of 10 possible assets.


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