A majority of people in Northern Ireland say they are tolerant of lesbian, gay and bisexual people (LGB) in society, according to a new survey from Ipsos MORI Ireland.

The survey, commissioned by Lesbian Advocacy Services Initiative (LASI), shows a majority of people (88%) are supportive of the principle that LGB people should not be discriminated against.

Three quarters (75%) of people questioned say they are either quite or very accepting of LGB people in society. However this figure differs between community background, gender, age and whether or not the respondents knows someone who is lesbian or gay.

Younger people are more likely to say they are tolerant compared to the older people who responded.

One of the most striking findings is that the general perception of NI society does not match what people actually say about tolerance. The survey reveals that 59% consider that NI is either not very or not at all accepting of LGB people. But only 21% say they actually hold these views and most of these are concentrated in very specific demographic groups and geographical areas.

Overall, 88% of people questioned believe that it is wrong for private businesses to discriminate against LGB people.

These findings are based on a face-to-face survey conducted by Ipsos MORI. Fieldwork was conducted during February 2006 at 47 sampling points across NI. The total number of interviews conducted was 1,009, amongst a representative. sample of the Northern Ireland population aged 15 plus. Data was weighted by gender, age, location and social class.