YouGov asked Brits whether Santa can be gay after an advert showed a queer Father Christmas.
The Christmas ad, made by the Norwegian postal service Posten, received waves of positive feedback after it went viral last month. The four-minute film told the beautiful story of Santa Claus finding a boyfriend, who he visits each year, and culminated in the pair sharing a kiss on Christmas Eve.
In response, YouGov polling conducted in December asked Britons a wide range of questions related to depictions of figures including Santa and Jesus Christ.
Despite the positive response to the Norwegian advert, respondents to the poll were split on whether or not it would be acceptable to depict Santa as gay.
Of the 2,737 respondents, only 39 per cent deemed such depictions “acceptable”, while 41 per cent believed gay Santa was “unacceptable”.
Can Santa be gay?
A Norwegian advert recently ruffled some people's feathers for showing Father Christmas with a boyfriend, and Britons are divided:
— YouGov (@YouGov) December 23, 2021
After the results were shared on Twitter Thursday (23 December), the overwhelming response was: Why?
— Marcel 🇻🇪 (@MejiasMarcel) December 23, 2021
I better not tell them about the time Santa emptied his sack and came down my chimney. https://t.co/5dh11UXv9c
— Miffletoe & Wine (Miffy) (@miffythegamer) December 23, 2021
Although some noted that the responses painted an eye-opening picture of prejudice in Britain.
There's an interesting thread here. What questions like this really measure is interesting. It's about both prejudice and what it's socially acceptable to be prejudiced about. https://t.co/TvzuFadGLN
— Evan (very tired) (@evantesseract) December 23, 2021
Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming majority of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) people (the polling didn’t report responses by trans people) – over 76 per cent – said it was “acceptable” to depict Father Christmas as queer, with only 17 per cent opposed.
The YouGov poll found there was also a generational gap in support of a gay Santa. Three in five (60 per cent) of people aged between 18 and 24 supported queer depictions of the Christmas icon, and only 20 per cent said it was “unacceptable”.
Those aged 25 to 49-years old were also more in favour of a gay Santa with 46 per cent believing it was “acceptable” and 33 per cent not.
However, this flipped among 50 to 64-year-olds, with 47 per cent in this age group thinking it was “unacceptable” to have a gay Santa. This trend continued for those aged over 65-years-old as over half (58 per cent) did not support depictions of a queer Father Christmas.
According to the same poll, a majority (54 per cent) of the British public are against a female Father Christmas, with only 27 per cent in favour of a “mother Christmas”.
Brits were generally in favour of Santa being depicted as from a non-white ethnicity. An overwhelming 80 per cent were in favour of Father Christmas being depicted as white, with only 2 per cent finding it “unacceptable”.
Only half of Britons (52 per cent) believed it was “acceptable” for him to be shown as Black, and a similar percentage (53 per cent) were in favour of a mid-Eastern Santa. Five in ten (50 per cent) said it was “acceptable” for Santa to be shown as East Asian, and 49 per cent were in favour of a South Asian Father Christmas.
Meanwhile, a recent PinkNews social media poll found that eight in 10 readers have to hide who they really are during the festive period because they are LGBT+.