A new study, published in The Journal of Politics, found that lesbian, gay, and transgender politicians are still facing electoral discrimination in United States, United Kingdom, and New Zealand. The study, titled Voter Preferences and the Political Underrepresentation of Minority Groups, asked participants to vote for hypothetical candidates, providing information about the candidate’s sexuality, gender identity, ethnicity, and other factors.
After analysing the 4,000 responses, researchers found that gay candidates were less likely to receive votes, with these candidates facing penalties of 6.7 percentage points in the US, 4.6 in the UK, and 3.3 in New Zealand. Lesbian candidates experienced similar levels of electoral discrimination, with penalties being 2.6% higher in the UK compared to gay men. Trans candidates faced even higher penalties across all three countries, including 11% in the US.
Researchers suggested that “electability concerns, outright prejudice, and identity cueing” may attribute to electoral discrimination among LGT political candidates. The study concluded that understanding “the barriers to the election of LGT people is crucial to improve the representation of marginalized communities.”