Germans accept gays more, immigrants less

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Julie Colthorpe - [email protected]
Germans accept gays more, immigrants less
Christopher Street Day in Munich. Photo: DPA

Tolerance of homosexuality has increased in nearly all German states since the fall of the Wall 25 years ago, but acceptance of immigrants who keep their traditions has declined, according to a study published on Monday.


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Published on Monday by the Bertelsmann Foundation, the social cohesion study showed tolerance for social diversity had grown since reunification. The report stated that there was a “more relaxed approach” towards sexual minorities.

Even in Bavaria, ranked as the least tolerant of the western German states, acceptance of homosexuality had increased.

Immigrants on the other hand, were still being met with scepticism, with fewer Germans considering immigrants to be an "enrichment of cultural life in the country".

Tolerance of those who maintain their traditional way of life in Germany has been dropping.

Yet those actually living in diverse areas were more positive, the report said.

"Diversity is more accepted in places where it is highest," Kai Unzicker from the Bertelsmann Foundation told Der Spiegel magazine.

A stronger society in the West

The report shows yawning differences remain between the former East and West states in terms of social cohesion - defined as "close social relations, emotional connectedness and focus on the common good."

Overall, social cohesion among Germans has been growing, but the cleft between the East and West is larger than ever, the study shows.

This was because while solidarity among Germans in the West has been increasing strongly, the poor economic situation in the East has slowed the increase of social cohesion there.

The authors, a team of sociologists from the private Jacobs University in Bremen, said the diminished trust between people in east German states was typical for former socialist countries.

“Trust in people is as just as valuable as it is fragile,” Liz Mohn the deputy chairman of the Bertelsmann Foundation, said in the report. “Trust can be destroyed – to rebuild it takes time and patience.”

The report suggested that trust in institutions such as the justice system and the police had however, made huge progress over the past ten years.

SEE ALSO: Population flight from east Germany ends P { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }



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