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LGBT Legislators and LGBT Rights around the World

in UNITED STATES, 07/05/2013

Announcing the release of a research paper published by the LGBT Representation and Rights initiative at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. "Out in Office: LGBT Legislators and LGBT Rights around the World" is based on "Representation and Rights: The Impact of LGBT Legislators in Comparative Perspective,”" American Political Science Review, Vol.107, No.2 (May 2013).

The report, the first comprehensive study of out LGBT MPs around the world, finds 196 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender legislators have been elected to serve in national office in 30 countries since 1977. As of April 2013 there were 121 Members of Parliament in 24 countries: 88 gay men, 27 lesbians, five bisexual, and one transgender MP. 106 lower house members, 15 upper house members (Senators/Lords).

The research shows that even when present in small numbers, LGBT legislators have a direct and significant effect on the enactment of equality legislation. Their presence reinforces a climate of transformation of values. Individual legislators nurture familiarity and acceptance from their straight colleagues, who, by and large, become more supportive of gay rights when they know someone who is gay or transgendered. Out LGBT MPs are symbols of progress which reinforce new norms of (voting) behavior. They are legislative entrepreneurs advocating, setting agendas and building alliances with straight legislators to put equality issues on agendas and marshal majorities in favor. A country that has elected an LGBT MP is fourteen times more likely to have marriage equality or civil union/registered partner laws than a country which has not.

An up to date version of the report is available online at: http://globalstudies.unc.edu/lgbt-representation-and-rights-research-initiative/2013-policy-paper/LGBTUNCreport_updateApr18.pdf

For further information and/or media inquiries, please contact Alissandra Stoyan: ali.lgbtrightsrep.unc@gmail.com.

 

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