Fifty-nine percent of 2,400 city residents interviewed in a survey said that society should accept homosexuals while 21 percent said they know gay people, state-run media reported on Monday.
    
On same-sex marriage, 40 percent of respondents supported the idea and 19 percent opposed.
    
The survey, on the social acceptance towards LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people, was done by the Shanghai LGBT Professionals and Work For LGBT and Parents, Families, Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

City residents aged 18 years and above were surveyed in November online and through mobile.

The survey showed that Chinese people are more positive towards LGBT people.

Only 4 percent of the respondents said they have no opinion on LGBT people while 40 percent of those surveyed remained neutral.
    
Ah Qiang, a well-known gay rights activist and founder of PFLAG China said the report revealed that gay people can win more acceptance and understanding by socialising with others.     

On equal employment opportunities, 80 percent of those surveyed were in favour and only 5 percent opposed it.

Zhang Beichuan, a prominent scholar on homosexuality, said the survey indicates that Chinese society has made great progress in accepting homosexuals in the past 20 years but many people still lack an understanding of gay people.

"The general public's acceptance does not mean they fully understand the LGBT groups," Zhang said, adding, that the majority of Chinese people may accept homosexuals in society but they would be opposed to the idea of having gay family members.

Zhang said China should introduce homosexuality courses to its education system as many young gay people's knowledge about homosexuality is rudimentary and some even get infected with HIV through unprotected sex.

A report on the state of HIV and AIDS in China released this month shows that China has more than 7,000 students who are either HIV carriers or AIDS patients while 64.8 percent of them contracted the virus through sex with people of the same gender, state-run news agency reported.

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