A new study examining the differences in queer Republicans found that nearly half wished they were straight, and almost as many see being queer as a “personal shortcoming.” The report from the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, entitled “Differences Between LGB Democrats and Republicans in Identity and Community Connections” found strong differences in the way lesbian, gay, and bisexual Democrats and Republicans viewed themselves, the overall LGBTQ+ community, and their level of participation in politics and the community. The study did not examine transgender or nonbinary folks.
“There is a common belief that LGBT identity and Republican affiliation are incompatible,” Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute and the study’s lead author, said in a statement. “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.”
The study found that 41 percent of LGB Republicans said they “would want to be completely heterosexual,” and 38 percent said they viewed being queer as a “personal shortcoming.” This compared respectively to only 17 and 16 percent of Democrats with the same views.
Compared to their Republican counterparts, the LGB Democrats studied were far more active within the LGBTQ+ community. According to the study, 46 percent of LGB Republicans felt a part of the community, and only 38 percent thought it is important to be politically active within the community. This compared to 72 percent of LGB Democrats on both points.
The study found some areas where LGB Democrats and Republicans shared similar views and behaviors. For example, there was little statistical difference in disclosure of their sexual identity to others, with over half out to their families and roughly three-quarters out to their straight friends. Both groups also held similar views about the “perceived stigma” of being LGB, including whether they would face employment discrimination and the belief that “most people would not want an openly LGB person to take care of their kids.”
LGB Republicans and Democrats disagree in two other important points. 85 percent of Democrats surveyed believed their sexual orientation was “a very important aspect” of their lives, while over half of Republicans said their sexual orientation was an “insignificant part of who” they were.