Despite all the positive changes due to European integration processes, the problem of prejudiced and negative attitudes towards people with “non-traditional sexual orientation” in Ukraine traditionally remains unresolved, homosexuality is taboo and it is “sinful”, and homophobic attitudes are often perceived as “truly moral” Christian virtues.
The empirical study on psychological characteristics of the development and manifestation of young people’s homophobia performed by us has demonstrated existing contradictions in young people’s attitudes to homosexuality. On the one hand, young men and women belong to a fairly progressive, quite tolerant part of society. On the other hand, our data have revealed homophobic behaviour often manifested by young people. Many young people showed homo-negativism - denial and negative attitude towards certain aspects of homosexuality.
Thus, very many young men and women believed that homosexuality was dangerous, since it could cause a “possible demographic crisis”, “spread of diseases”, “dissolution of the family as a social institution” and “harmful effects on a future generation’s psyche”. Many young people were convinced that an obviously demonstrated homosexual lifestyle increased the number of people with a non-traditional orientation, therefore gay pride parades, same-sex marriages, and adoption of children by homosexuals should be banned.
Negative ideas about homosexual people and prejudice against them were formed not because young people’s own experience, since they practically did not know homosexuals, but due to stereotypical thinking, non-professional publications in the media and due to the lack of proper education in the field of gender psychology.
In our opinion, homonegativism and homophobia shared by young people exist because of inadequate, not scientifically proven information about homosexual people, biased perception of sexual minorities based on shocking images of entertainers, film characters etc.
We believe that overcoming homonegativism and homophobia is possible through the refutation of myths, stereotypes and prejudices regarding various aspects of human sexuality with psychological education and through an adequate state policy that should not contribute to anti-homosexual xenophobic attitudes.
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