Gay neighbours

A sketch in one of the early 1990s comedy shows (Fast Forward?) used a suburban house auction to make a point about Australian prejudices. With Aboriginal actor Ernie Dingo posing as a neighbour during the auction the bidders melted away, and his accomplice in the audience was able to buy the house at a bargain price. This study by Queensland academic John Mangan and co-author Vani Borooah, reported in the SMH yesterday, tells us who we should send to auctions to keep prices down in a range of Western countries, including (partially) Australia, at least over the years 1999-2000.

Though overall what the survey shows is that most people are not fussed by the groups described – people of a different race, Muslims, Jews, immigrants or foreign workers, and homosexuals – Muslims or homosexuals are the least preferred as neighbours. For Australia there was no question about the religious groups, but less than 5% were worried by people of another race or by immigrants and foreign workers, while a quarter did not want homosexuals as neighbours.

The paper does not report it, but this question has been asked before in Australia by Roy Morgan Research. In 1983, 34% of respondents did not want homosexuals as neighbours, while in 1995 it was 25%, the same figure as recorded at the turn of the century. The other groups triggering non-trivial objections in 1995 were Aboriginal people (12%), members of a new religious movement (27%) and drug addicts (74%).

For all these I’d guess that concerns about how a member of that group would behave toward their neighbours (ie the respondent) influence answers, but I am not sure whether this is the case with homosexuals. I’m not sure that any of the gay stereotypes are linked to behaviour that would be regarded as uneighbourly, except perhaps their musical tastes when indulged loudly – which in any case tend to be shared with the far more numerous teenage girls who never turn up in prejudice surveys. It’s perhaps an aversion to what the respondents think gays do in private, which remains unpopular decades after polls recorded majority opinion for decriminalisation.

30 thoughts on “Gay neighbours

  1. I’m surprised by the ‘gay result’ – I had the impression gays had a positive impact on housing prices. (There may be reverse causality here, but I’m sure Richard Florida’s argument would apply).

    Like

  2. I suspect the community intolerance to gays is in good part due to mainstream religious leaders in Australia. They have actively sought to vilify gay acts and relationships as ‘immoral’, so is it any wonder that Australians who follow their faith blindly share these sentiments? This lack of tolerance does not apply to liberal believers (like, I am glad to say, my children and grand-children).

    Like

  3. Fred – The study found that across the whole sample people for whom religion was important were more likely to be prejudiced against homosexuals but less likely to be prejudiced against Muslims and immigrants . The Australia Insitute’s research on ‘homophobia’ in Australia did find that religious people were more likely to think that homesexuality was immoral than non-religious people. There are a range of predictable patterns of opinion on this subject: young less prejudiced than the old, women less prejudiced than men, university educated less prejudiced than people with other forms of education.

    As always, though, I would stress the distinction between prejudice (which is an attitude) and tolerance (which is a behaviour). Indeed, more people say homosexuality is immoral than would object to gay neighbours.

    Like

  4. Andrew – Yes, I think that’s a good theory. Particularly in conservative circles you still see the idea that sexual preference can be chosen, plus the old canard about gays being unusually sexually interested in under-age boys.

    Like

  5. Um, Andrew it seems odd timing to be dismissing the predatory gay thing in the same week that there has been a lot of publicity about the trial of two gay men who kidnapped a teen boy It’s rare, but it can happen.

    Like

  6. My gay neighbours do tend to stay up late more and are more likely to party late into the night. But since I stay up late myself, it doesn’t bother me the least.

    Like

  7. Steve – Yes, it does happen – but the overwhelming majority of child abusers are straight men, and abusers are disproportionately relatives or step-parents of the victim. Statistically, gay neighbours would low on the list of potential threats.

    Like

  8. Andrew

    Of course, no one would ever accuse hetero men of ever being interested in underaged (ie under 18 or 16 years old) girls either ! So, if the often posited figure of roughly 10 % of the population is gay holds, you’d more easily avoid the proposition of your offspring having sex with the neighbours if they WERE gay (ie because your son/daughter probably isn’t).

    Whereas if you have a 15 yo daughter and a dreamy 18 yo hetero boy across the road, you could be in for trouble.

    Like

  9. Jimmy – I think the true figure is 2-3%, rather than 10%, so the chance of actually having a gay neighbour is very low, especially outside the inner cities where gay populations are concentrated.

    Like

  10. “except perhaps their musical tastes when indulged loudly – which in any case tend to be shared with the far more numerous teenage girls”…you’re not unwittingly indulging in unhelpful “stereo-types” are we?? (excuse the pun)

    please elaborate on this Andrew 🙂

    Jason- what’s this about gays being excitable insomniacs? I don’t know about you but my neighbor is a boring turd (despite being a backup dancer for bindi irwin lol)

    Like

  11. Now that I have looked at Missing Link, I can use LP’s Suz to elaborate on the possible horrors of gay muscial taste:

    “If it isn’t all about unspeakable sexuality, I’m somewhat at a loss. Maybe they imagine being bombarded by loud music in the form of the Pet Shop Boys – or the Scissors Sisters – till four in the morning most weekdays. Or worse still, Elton John.”

    Like

  12. No-one seems to have mentioned the fact that many heterosexuals might simply feel inadequate about meeting the impossibly high expectations inherent in living up to gay neighbours. Richard Florida’s endless trumpeting of the manifest civilising virtues of the innerurbanati poof may well have driven people who want to veg out in dilapidated tracky dacks in front of “The Biggest Loser” with non-organic pizza, into paroxysms of apprehension and fear about encountering the phenomenon.

    The last thing you’d want is some bon-mot dropping, buff, gym bod knocking unexpectedly on the door to borrow some Vietnamese Mint or Dukkah for a dinner party garnish,(“just twenty coming. Spur of the moment. I’m just flinging it together”) and wordlessly patronising you for your secondhand Ikea “SmogNyls” demountable sofa with the one bit missing and the framed copy of the Desiderata on velvet, left by the ex housemate.

    Frankly, I’m surprised the “no homos next door” percentages aren’t higher.

    Like

  13. The last thing you’d want is some bon-mot dropping, buff, gym bod knocking unexpectedly on the door to borrow some Vietnamese Mint or Dukkah for a dinner party garnish,(”just twenty coming. Spur of the moment. I’m just flinging it together”) and wordlessly patronising you for your secondhand Ikea “SmogNyls” demountable sofa with the one bit missing and the framed copy of the Desiderata on velvet, left by the ex housemate.

    Don’t be silly Geoff, – if men like this were straight, they’d get all the women. More gays means less competition, so I’m not complaining (what is Dukkah?) 🙂

    Like

  14. Sacha – thanks for that sounds yum.

    I’m a bit surprised that buff, gym bods, would be seen in woolies and not at an organic open market serving local produce only. 🙂

    Like

  15. The day after this story was published, the front page headline of the central Queensland newspaper The Morning Bulletin (locally known as The Bully’ dated 20/4/07) read, “Daytime antics shock riverside residents GAY SEX ROMP IN ROCKY PARK” and yet another gay witchunt driven by Queensland Police and local government… It considered with the inaugural screening in Rockhampton, on that same night of a selection of films from the Melbourne Queer Film Festival… who said the Queensland police state culture went away, post Fitzgerald? Seems the more things change, the more they stay the same in the smart ass state.

    Like

  16. Andrew, re relative risk of sexual abuse: yes I knew the stats, but we are talking perceptions here, not reality.

    By the way, how seriously should I take the Roy Morgan survey when it indicated that only 75% would object to drug addicts as neighbours. I find it surprising that the number was not into the 90’s!

    Like

  17. Sinc – sorry for the lack of detail – you can dip crusty/sourdough bread into olive oil and then into dukkah – it’s beautiful – and currently very fashionable. You can get different flavours of dukkah (they have slightly different additives eg herbs) in the supermarket.

    I’ve also had a fresh buttercup pumpkin, dukkah and something else dip from DJ’s food hall, which is beautiful. Can heartily recommend it.

    Like

  18. The organic food market in Kings Cross is only held every second saturday, so the buffed bods have to go to the supermarket after gym every other day.

    Like

  19. I thought the buffed bods had heaps of disposable income and could afford refrigerators. I shall invest in some dukkah and report back.

    Like

  20. Everyone’s fridge is full of champagne – there’s no room for food.

    Carrying more than a few bags of groceries home can be difficult without a car (a lot of people in Kings Cross don’t have cars) and there’s no convenient car park near Woolies – so the “kings cross lifestyle” includes going to the supermarket when you run out of food. It’s the modern hunter/gatherer lifestyle.

    Like

  21. Everyone’s fridge is full of champagne – there’s no room for food.

    Well done. Can I recommend the sparkling shiraz – very good.

    Like

  22. Brown Brothers does a good sparkling pinot. Quite fond of Louis Roederer and Veuve Cliquot Rose, and how can you go past Perrier Jouet?

    Like

  23. Sasha – again I’m shown up as an uncivilised barbarian. Every so often I do a trip to Dan Murphy’s a pick up $300 – $400 worth of stuff. But never, ever Rose.

    Like

  24. *laugh* – the Veuve Cliquot Rose is only about $120 and the really nice Perrier Jouet is about $220 (I had it with my parents at my PhD graduation dinner). And the Rose Veuve is only a little more expensive than the usual Veuve.

    Ok, they’re a little more than the usual $15 a bottle but they’re for special occasions! I had been eyeing the Perrier Jouet for many months. (The beautiful art noveau flowers on the perrier jouet bottle makes it worth the 100-odd dollars a bottle charge).

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s