Tolerance survey: Lithuanians grow more homophobic and resent Roma, but accept Russian-speakers

Published: January 17, 2013

e researcher believes the reasons behind this are complex and therefore require systematic approach. Working with the society, she says, should be given particular attention. Solving social problems afflicting the country’s Roma community should be among the steps in tackling their ostracism. “Roma integration programmes pay particular attention to education and preserving their traditions, but other means are necessary, too – those aimed at developing social skills,” Dr Pilinkait?-Sortirovi? tells 15min.

Commenting on the survey results, Dr Margarita Jankauskait? of the Centre for Equality Advancement points out two complementary tendencies: on the one hand, people claim they do not wish to live or work in the presence of homosexuals, while on the other, they admit they do not personally know any. “That means that attitudes are not formed via direct contact but rather through second-hand information – based on what someone said or suggestively commented,” Dr Jankauskait? says. “Given that homophobia has been systematically encouraged on the highest political level for the last four years, we should not be surprised that the situation is getting worse.”

Tolerance for discrimination

The representative survey also reveals that Lithuanians are most likely (61 percent of all respondents) to accept discrimination against former prisoners.

On the other hand, the Lithuanian society has become more accepting of Russian-speakers (the balance of respondents indicating their opinion has improved over the last five years versus those reporting a decline is +14) and people with physical disabilities (+21). Attitudes have become more negative towards the homosexuals (–14) and former prisoners (–12).

“Survey results have revealed that Lithuanians are homophobic and that the situation is getting worse: homosexuals are among the least accepted groups to have as neighbours and colleagues,” the study concludes.

Interesting to note that most Lithuanians think that labour relations is the area where discrimination is most rampant – as reported by 62 percent of respondents. 46 percent believe it is law enforcement.

Lithuanians believe that the most common form of discrimination is ageism (49 percent). 41 percent think that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation dominates, 40 percent say it is disability.

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