Research carried out by a sociologist at The University of Nottingham features in a new book which helps to explain how homophobia is defined and experienced across Europe.
‘Confronting Homophobia in Europe’ illustrates the findings of a European wide research project -‘Citizens in Diversity: A four-nation study of homophobia and fundamental rights’- which looked at the homophobia and fundamental rights in the four member countries: Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and the UK.
Although there was evidence to suggest that the UK has become a more tolerant place for sexual difference and diversity Dr Andrew Kam-Tuck Yip, from the School of Sociology and Social Policy, says that a more nuanced look continues to tell a cautionary tale. His research focuses on ethnic minority communities demonstrates differential levels of tolerance of the lesbian and gay population.
Dr Yip said: “Covert homophobia is a social issue that needs to be addressed and resources of various kinds need to be made available for such education. The challenge in this respect is that educational efforts need a lot of resources and the outcome often takes time to materialise. Changing entrenched social attitudes, particularly in relation to sexuality and gender, is a time-consuming and energy-sapping endeavour. This also requires the lesbian and gay community to be patient and actively engaged in dialogue. The responsibility rests on the heterosexual as well as the lesbian and gay communities.”
Homophobia exists in many different forms across Europe. Sociologists and legal experts analysed the sociological dimensions of homophobia to understand how homophobia and homosexuality are defined and experienced in the everyday life of the participants. The study then looked at how homophobia is reproduced ‘in law’ and how it is confronted ‘with law’.
Dr Yip interviewed lesbians, gays and heterosexual men and women from four ethnic communities in the UK.
Dr Yip said: “As a liberal democracy, we have the responsibility to continue to promote a better understanding of sexual diversity and difference, as part of the kaleidoscope of human existence. The law cannot legislate against homophobia broadly. What it can do is to legislate against discriminatory behaviour on the basis of sexual orientation. “
The new book is available as a free download from the Citizens in Diversity
website. Thirty free copies of the printed book are available from Dr. Yip, while stocks last. Please send the request to firstname.lastname@example.org
. The book is also available to buy from Hart Publishing
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