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Dear Editor: “We hold up a mirror to society…”; MFO responds to Baldeosingh on ‘gay rights’

“Mr [Kevin] Baldeosingh’s confusion may be caused by his desire to correlate the findings with the cited comment by Inglehart. Our position is not that our country’s values have changed but that these values are changing. A world of difference.”

In the following Letter to the Editor, MFO (Market Facts and Opinions) chairman Noble Phillip responds to criticism from columnist Kevin Baldeosingh:

Photo: A young man shows off his colours during the gay pride parade in Woodbrook, Port of Spain on 28 July 2018.
(Copyright Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

In publishing our Social Values report, our hope was that we, as a nation, will reflect and be enabled to have a discussion that can move us forward. For this to happen, we must ensure that there is appropriate understanding of what the report is saying and not saying. In this light, we address issues raised by Mr Kevin Baldeosingh.

His central claim is that our report’s data does not support the claim that our country is in a state of flux and that the more tolerant young are contributing to this. Apparently, he has not looked at our examination of the tortured road we have travelled (p. 9) and therefore missed the note re the publication of the Green Paper on gender policy and the comments of Justice Jamadar, both of which are significant departures.

To fully appreciate, he should converse with Mrs Verna St Rose-Greaves on the journey of the gender policy document. He has not understood the significance of Jamadar’s role or comment: “many persons cannot tell the difference between sex and gender. Sex is determined at birth, but gender is a social construct” and that failure to note the biases “will interfere with how we do our work.

Mr Baldeosingh has not read our page 14 where the young were the ones in favour of same-sex relations being legalised while the Baby Boomers were opposed. He missed page 21 where persons who held Tertiary/University education (the GATE beneficiaries) were five times more in favour of legalisation than those who held Primary School education (the over 55’s). On page 27, the report shows that the Millennials were twice as in favour compared to their parents.

Photo: Columnist and satirist Kevin Baldeosingh.

In statistics ‘a clear majority’ is a technical term. It has nothing to do with margin of error. “A clear majority” is a position agreed to by more persons than all the other options combined.

Mr Baldeosingh’s confusion may be caused by his desire to correlate the findings with the cited comment by Inglehart. Our position is not that our country’s values have changed but that these values are changing. A world of difference.

We said, “the nation will, with the passage of time, be more accepting of same sex relationships.”

In our report, the issue of ‘gay rights’ is contextualised in the wider social realm. We ‘know’ the level of alcohol usage, the prevalence of extra-marital/pre-marital sex and so we can make a judgement about our reported attitudes to ‘gay rights’ relative to those values (page 16).

To get around folk giving socially acceptable answers, we grounded the opinion about the generalised ‘same-sex relations’ in concrete terms—issues highlighted by the LGBTQI lobby and which spoke directly to the sexual orientation perspective.

MFO cannot editorialise, like Mr Baldeosingh. We are a research company bound to follow strict guidelines and precedents. We hold a mirror up to society and resist taking positions guided by our emotions. Trust is our stock in trade.

Photo: Actress Penelope Spencer (centre) participates in the Trinidad and Tobago Gay Pride parade in Woodbrook, Port of Spain on 28 July 2018.
(Copyright Annalicia Caruth/Wired868)

Editor’s Note: Click HERE to read the initial column from Kevin Baldeosingh on the MFO’s poll regarding local ‘tolerance’ of same sex unions.

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Letters to the Editor
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2 comments

  1. Would have loved if the writer specifically addressed the parts (stats) quoted by Baldeosingh.