Metro Weekly

Twitter study reveals the most homophobic places in America

And yes, Texas is one of them

Logo: redymzoy0, via Wikimedia.

Logo: redymzoy0, via Wikimedia.

A survey by anti-bullying charity Ditch the Label and research firm Brandwatch has identified some of the most homophobic places in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The states with the highest prevalence of homophobic tweets were: Michigan, Ohio, Nevada, Arizona and Texas. Other states with high levels of homophobic tweets were Iowa, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Nebraska and Maryland.

In Britain, the highest amount of homophobic tweets came from Denbighshire, north Wales and Dundee, Scotland. Pockets of anti-LGBT sentiment were also seen in Glamorgan, Gwent and Herefordshire in Wales, and in East Yorkshire and Peterborough in England.

The study looked at a random sample of 19 million tweets from users in the two countries between 2012 and 2016. Among the 19 million tweets examined, 390,000 were homophobic.

For every eight positive or neutral tweets referring to sexual orientation, there was one negative tweet.

Twitter conversations about LGB rights peaked around the time of the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June. The study’s authors note: “Both these peaks were closely linked to politics and political figures, suggesting a sphere in which political actions and individuals can have a significant impact on awareness of homophobia. However, the relatively stable use of homophobic language throughout the time frame suggests more work is needed to enable change within these author communities.”

 

The analysis shows that homophobic insults were more common among men than women, with 64% of homophobic insults coming from male Twitter users. Those with an interest in sports were more likely to use such language, followed by those with an interest in music and in “family and parenting.”

Among professions, artists, students and executives were the top three groups most likely to use homophobic language on Twitter, comprising two-thirds of all anti-LGB tweets.

There were only 19,003 transphobic tweets among the 19 million sampled. Neutral discussion about transgender rights was 24 times more common than anti-transgender language. Sixty percent of Twitter users who resorted to anti-transgender language were male. Once again, as with homophobia, artists, students and executives were the most likely to use such language on the social media platform.

States with higher levels of transphobic tweets (relative to neutral discussion on transgender issues) were: Nevada, Idaho, Alabama, North Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

In the UK, Perth & Kinross, Lancashire, Derbyshire, Aberdeen City and Hampshire had the highest number of anti-transgender tweets.

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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