HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 17 no. 1 (2017)

Homonegativity in Southeast Asia: Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam

Eric Julian Manalastas | Timo T. Ojanen | Ratanakorn Ratanashevorn | Bryan Choong Chee Hong | Vizla Kumaresan | Vigneswaran Veeramuthu



How are sexual minorities like lesbians, gay men, and their sexualities viewed in the different societies of Southeast Asia? Previous studies have been limited by the reliance on data from university students and other non representative samples, with little comparability across countries in the region. This research brief addresses this gap by comparing attitudes toward lesbians and gay men and about lesbian and gay sexualities in six Southeast Asian countries using nationally representative survey data. Combined data from the World Values Survey (total n = 9,182 respondents from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) indicated that many Southeast Asians reject lesbians or gay men as neighbors, with the most homonegative attitudes to be found in Indonesia (66%) and Malaysia (59%), compared to relatively less rejecting nations like Thailand (40%), Singapore (32%), Vietnam (29%), and the Philippines (28%). Same sex sexuality was least acceptable, based on a moral justifiability measure, among Indonesians, followed by Vietnamese and Malaysians. Singaporeans, Thais, and Filipinos were the least rejecting of lesbian and gay sexual orientations in the region. We also explored a number of established correlates of homonegative attitudes in each country, including gender, age, educational attainment, and religiosity.