Despite the countless films, books, and TV shows promoting the freedom to love, a recent study has shown that barriers have not all been broken.
While 9 in 10 young people wish for a world where they are free to be with the person they are attracted to, only 3 in 5 of young people feel that they are free to love, said the 'Freedom of Attraction' study.
The study, conducted by idstats Research and Consultancy and other agencies from August 2016 to September 2017 for oral hygiene brand Close-Up, also found that while about 3 in 4 youths interviewed had pursued unconventional relationships, 1 in 2 kept their relationship secret.
The study included 3,000 youths from Brazil, India, and the Philippines. A mix of desk research, interviews with experts, and surveys were used to gather information.
The findings indicate that the barriers to closeness still exist, the study said. It also said that while barriers might be a little less common, less visible, and more acceptable than they used to be, they are still there. In some cases, they are even becoming stronger.
"Sadly, even though we’ve made strides in embracing diversity and respecting people’s freedom to follow their heart regardless of race, gender, religion, class, or identity, countless individuals still find themselves unable to make this fundamental, basic choice," said psychologist Holly Parker in the foreword she wrote for the study.
Society also passes judgement on those who are engaged in unconventional relationships, the study found. It can be hard, because relationships matter a lot to youths, especially with their parents and friends.
"Relationships can face prejudice as society passes judgement on couples whose pairing falls outside the lines of what it defines as customary and appropriate. Such couples are more apt to face unfavorable attitudes, feel less accepted, and experience dismissive or demeaning treatment. And acceptance matters," Parker said.
According to Close-Up, the results of the study has only stressed that it is vital for everyone, led by influential groups and individuals, to help bridge the many gaps that prevent acceptance.
One way is to continue spreading the message of free love through social media—one of the world's most important platforms for thought leadership.
"Through our research, key areas where young people seek the most support in their pursuit of unconventional relationships were identified…Close-Up pledges to support our youths in the most relevant way we possibly can. In fact, we have started doing so," the company said in a white paper released to media.
They launched the #FreeToLove movement on social media, and are encouraging the public to support the breaking of barriers by celebrating love of every kind, supporting initiatives that help build a world where everyone is free to love, to normalize "unstereotypical" relationships, and to advocate the right and freedom to love.
"We won't stop until everyone is #FreeToLove. But we cannot do it alone. Everybody has a role to play. So will you let love in, or keep the door shut?" Close-Up said.
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