Religion and Homophobia in Trinidad and Tobago

Topics: Same-sex marriage, Homosexuality, Sociology Pages: 6 (1939 words) Published: March 23, 2012
Analysis of Data
As previously demonstrated, the data collected was graphically represented in order to highlight trends or anomalies. Figure 1 (Fig. 1) begins by showing that 36% of our sample supported same sex marriage, whilst 64% did not. Since non-support of same-sex marriage is used as our indicator of homophobia, approximately two-thirds (( 2)⁄(3 )) of our sample is considered homophobic. Whilst this suggests that a substantial proportion of our population is supportive of homosexuality, the majority is apparently homophobic. Thus, a standard was found, against which individual elements of the population can then be manipulated and analysed in a positivistic approach. Figure 2 shows that the gender of the non-supportive population was almost equally distributed, which suggests that perspective is gender neutral. This is surprising considering that gender commonly indicates differing perspectives, but may perhaps be attributed to the existence of homosexuality in both genders. Additionally, this is reflected in Fig 3. , where the male only school, Naparima College is proportionately equal to the female only schools, Naparima Girls’ High School (NGHS), ASJA Girls’ College (ASJA) and St. Joseph’s Convent (SJC). Furthermore, Figure 4 shows that the average CSEC grades (which we will use as an indicator of education level) of the supporters approximately equalled that of the non-supporters. Therefore, neither gender, education level school has significant effect on our candidates’ perception of same-sex marriage. Continuing the search for factors that may affect the development of homophobia, Fig 5 outlines four further dimensions of social life, showing that, support of the legalisation of marijuana, alcohol consumption habits, history of altercations with the law, and family structure all had negligible effects because the proportions only slightly deviated from the norm. It is only when the dynamic of religion is introduced that anomalies become apparent. As illustrated in Figure 6, there is little variance between the individual religions, with Islam being marginally more homophobic, but, when religion is removed, as in the case of our secular candidates, the proportions are reversed and approximately two-thirds (( 2)⁄(3 )) of the secular candidates were supportive. Additionally, it was observed that, whilst Muslim candidates had the highest correlation to homophobia within our sample, the candidates from the Islamic school, ASJA Girls’ College –who would have been exposed to the institution for at least five years, a substantial portion of their lives-, had the lowest correlation to homophobia; the difference being approximately 10%. This is pertinent because it is also indicative of secularisation by differentiation wherein the non-religious sphere of life, education is separated from religion (José Casanova, 1994). In both instances of secularisation, homophobia was reduced. Building on the investigation of the influence of religion, religiosity was then compared to opinion using three common measures of religiosity. Figure 7 shows the relationship between frequency of visitation of place of worship and non-support, Figure 8 shows the frequency of private worship against non-support and Figure 8 shows the frequency of private study of religious texts versus non-support. All graphs yielded a positive gradient, began well below the average and ended well above it. This indicates, that as religiosity increases, so too does homophobia. This contrasts our previous observation that there were no trends amongst the various religions but verifies the implication that secularisation decreases homophobia. Careful consideration of the qualitative data compounds these assertions because, not only is religion openly and usually used as justification of homophobia, the candidates who were most fervently religious and enmeshed with their congregation were often most blatantly homophobic. Additionally, if the view of the...
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