Queers are 20 times more likely than cis-hets to be activists, study finds


Crowds gather on Christopher Street outside the Stonewall Inn for a rally to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York, June 28, 2019 (ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

Lesbian, gay and bisexual people are 20 times more likely to be LGBT+ activists that straight, cisgender people, an analysis of US election survey data shows.

LGB people were also significantly more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to be involved in environmental, peace and Occupy Wall Street activist movements.

The study, published in the journal Social Science Research, analysed the American National Election Surveys of 2012, with data from 3,519 people.

Of those, 4.5 percent of respondents identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Other sexual orientation’s or trans identities were not included in the survey.

The lead author, Eric Swank from Arizona State University, also looked at whether factors such as age, gender, race or education level played a role in whether queer people were involved as activists – and found that they didn’t.

What did impact the number of queer people engaged with social activism was their greater endorsement of liberal ideologies and egalitarian values; their recognition of the racism, sexism and other inequalities still prevalent in the US; and being personally and emotionally embedded in the LGBT+ community.

The study’s authors concluded that LGB people’s involvement in the LGBT+ rights movements was driven by the sense of “belongingness” created by it, as well as the structural, organisation and interpersonal discrimination experience by non-heterosexuals in the US and beyond.

LGB people were two to four times more likely than cishet people to be active in the peace, environmentalism and Occupy Wall Street movements.

There was also higher participation by LGB people in the feminist and racial justice movements, as well as a lower participation rate in the Tea Party and anti-abortion movements.

Rates of activism were low across all the survey respondents, with just 0.9 percent of heterosexuals involved in any kind of social movement and 4.6 percent of LGB respondents participating in activism.

Past research has found that LGBT+ people are significantly more liberal than heterosexuals on a wide range of issues, including views on gender equality, racial justice, the criminal justice system, immigration and religion.



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