LGB Republicans less connected to the LGBT community than LGB Democrats

A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds differences between LGB Republicans and Democrats in how they view their sexual identity and how they connect to the LGBT community.

Compared to LGB Democrats, fewer LGB Republicans say they feel a part of the LGBT community and view participation in the community as a positive thing. In addition, more LGB Republicans than Democrats say they would want to be completely heterosexual (41% v. 17%, respectively) and being LGB is a personal shortcoming (38% v. 16%, respectively).

Researchers analyzed data from the Generations Study, a representative sample of non-transgender LGB people in the U.S. and found some similarities between LGB people of the two political affiliations. LGB Republicans and Democrats are similar in the degree to which they disclosed their sexual identity to others. And people of both affiliations perceive similar levels of rejection and discrimination in the communities where they live.

“There is a common belief that LGBT identity and Republican affiliation are incompatible,” said lead author Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “Although they represent a small minority, some LGB people are affiliated as Republicans. However, it is striking to find how much they differ from sexual minority Democrats in terms of their connections with LGBT communities.”

Key Findings

  • Most people across party affiliations disclosed that they were LGB to family members, straight friends, coworkers, and health care providers.
  • A majority of people of both party affiliations said that they believed that people thought less of an LGB person and that most people would not want to hire an openly LGB person to take care of their children.
  • Compared with LGB Democrats, more LGB Republicans said they would want to be completely heterosexual and that being LGB is a personal shortcoming.
  • LGB Republicans were less likely than LGB Democrats to feel a part of the LGBT community, to agree that participating in the LGBT community is a positive thing, to feel a bond with the LGBT community, to be proud of the LGBT community, and to feel that problems faced by the LGBT community are their own problems.
  • LGB Democrats were twice as likely as LGB Republicans to say that it is important to be politically active in the LGBT community.

Read the brief

October 30, 2020

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