Elections: Does sexual orientation of candidates matter?

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Would you vote for a candidate running for political office only because he or she is gay, lesbian or bisexual?

An organization in the United States contacted me today to ask about “out” candidates in the upcoming Canadian federal election. They are trying to determine if “sexual orientation matters at all any more to voting behavior – indeed in some circumstances it can be a plus.”

Note that they are talking about sexual orientation — not transgender identity.

I pointed out to the organization that an “out” politician may be simply living openly as gay or bisexual, but may not be trumpeting the fact. And if they are not talking about their sexuality during the campaign, chances are the vast majority of voters won’t even know about it because the mainstream media — in Canada, at least — won’t talk about it unless it is particularly relevant to election issues.

Would voters care if they did learn a candidate is in an openly gay/lesbian/bisexual relationship?

I think not, in the vast majority of cases. I think Canadians vote for parties and their leaders, not so much for individuals in particular ridings.

Sure, some homophobic people wouldn’t vote for a candidate if they knew he is gay. But I’m doubting that members of the LGBT community would vote for someone because he or she is gay or lesbian or bisexual.

What about you? If you respond, please mention your country so we can see the differences between American, Canadian, British etc. views.

— Jillian Page, LGBT Perspectives editor

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“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey

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2 thoughts on “Elections: Does sexual orientation of candidates matter?”

  1. Queer identities are relevant in the sense that successful queer people generally have to overcome significant struggles (induced) within and (imposed from) outside.

    Experiencing life as a queer person puts a LOT of pressure on one’s character, both to shape and reveal it. These pressures can help make for an unusually healthy and beneficial person, or they can create a person in dire need of healing.

    To me, how a candidate manages this sort of life experience and identity is a useful and relevant *part* of a candidate’s curriculum vitae.

    Like

  2. What a silly question. A candidate’s sexual orientation (or for that matter, gender identity) is totally irrelevant. What counts is the candidates integrity and political positions.

    (Canada)

    Like

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