Democracy & Justice

Support for LGBT rights among Estonian people has grown exponentially

The Estonian Human Rights Centre has published five public opinion surveys concerning LGBT topics in the last decade. The 2021 survey demonstrates that residents have adopted a considerably more positive attitude towards LGBT people and their rights.

by Mirjam Savioja
Support for LGBT rights among Estonian people has grown exponentially

Attitudes of the Estonian population have become significantly more positive and more and more people support LGBT rights, according to a recent LGBT public opinion survey by the Estonian Human Rights Centre. For the first time, there are remarkably more people who consider homosexuality acceptable than those who do not as 53 percent of the respondents think it is a normal part of society. In 2019, homosexuality was acceptable to only 41 percent of respondents. The public opinion survey was conducted by Turu-uuringute AS in April 2021 and included 1003 participants.

“Attitudes towards LGBT people and the need to guarantee their rights have improved significantly over the past decade, and the biggest change has occurred in the last two years,” said Liis Grünberg, Head of Research at Turu-uuringute AS.

According to the survey, 53 percent of Estonians over the age of 14 consider homosexuality to be completely or somewhat acceptable. In fact, the youth aged 15–19 are the most open-minded: 73 percent of them think that same-sex attraction is normal in the society. Commendably, the change in attitude has occurred among both the Estonian-speaking population and speakers of other languages.

71 percent of Estonians believe that LGBT people should be protected by law from discrimination not only in the field of work but also in education, health care and access to goods and services. “The survey shows that the majority of the Estonian people are friendly and stand for a society that respects all human rights. The intolerant are vocal, but they are in a clear minority,” said Egert Rünne, director of the Human Rights Centre.

Support for the Registered Partnership Act continues to grow

The Registered Partnership Act was passed in Estonia in October 2014 and came to force in 2016, but without implementing provisions. In the last two years, the support for the Registered Partnership Act has increased significantly among Estonian residents. While 49 percent of respondents were in favour of it in 2019, a recent survey shows that 64 percent of people in Estonia support the Act. Furthermore, more than half of the respondents think that the adoption of the Act was an important step in ensuring human rights and equal treatment in Estonia.

“The increase in support for the Registered Partnership Act is consistent, and it is time for the parliament of Estonia to understand that the implementing acts of the Registered Partnership Act must be adopted so that all families living in Estonia feel secure and safe,” Rünne explained.

The Human Rights Centre has been publishing public opinion surveys on LGBT issues since 2012. Polls are conducted every two years by Turu-uuringute AS and the 2021 survey is the fifth Estonia’s largest report on LGBT rights so far.

Take a look at the 2021 survey!

Civic Space Policy Paper 2022

Civic Space Needs Our Protection

Read more