“[…] 77 percent of young persons were opposed to homosexuals having the same legal rights as heterosexuals, as were 66 percent of people with a university-level education.
“Thus, it is misleading to say that younger educated people are more tolerant than older less educated ones—the more accurate phrasing would be that young people are slightly less intolerant than older ones.”
In the following letter to the editor, author Kevin Baldeosingh of Freeport suggests that, despite claims by a recent Market Facts and Opinions poll, Trinidad and Tobago citizens remain largely intolerant of same sex unions:
A recent opinion poll by Market Facts and Opinions, published on the company’s website, shows that the majority of Trinbagonians are rejecting the ideal of tolerance listed in the nation’s watchwords—discipline and production having been abandoned for over a half-century.
The MFO’s executive summary begins with the assertion that “the study shows a country in a state of flux with respect to its norms” and argues that “this tolerance is propelled by the possession of higher education by the young.” But the poll’s actual data support none of this optimism.
When asked if they would rent to a same-sex couple, for example, the MFO poll says that “a clear majority (54%) of millennials/Gen Z” were not opposed to this. But 54 percent hardly constitutes a “clear majority” since the poll’s margin of error is +/- 4%.
Moreover, fully 77 percent of young persons were opposed to homosexuals having the same legal rights as heterosexuals, as were 66 percent of people with a university-level education. Thus, it is misleading to say that younger educated people are more tolerant than older less educated ones—the more accurate phrasing would be that young people are slightly less intolerant than older ones.
Also significant was the fact that non-religious respondents were just as opposed to gay rights as religious ones (77 percent).
As an atheist, I myself had always assumed that religious beliefs played a major role in fostering hatred of homosexuals but clearly the bias against gays—which was also found among atheists polled in the 2010 World Values Survey—goes beyond religion.
The fact is, the MFO poll showed that the vast majority of Trinis are not only bigots but, in comparison to previous polls done by MORI and the WVS, the prejudice against gays has probably deepened in the past few years.
Political scientist Ronald Inglehart has found that, for social values to change, at least 40 percent of a populace must adhere to modern attitudes. Trinidad and Tobago is far from that, and it remains to be seen whether the recent court rulings and more visible activism in support of gay rights will open the minds of the average citizen.
Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read the response to this column by MFO chairman, Noble Phillip.