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Nearly 30 percent of LGBTQ women candidates discouraged from running for office because of gender, gender identity: Report

Nearly 30 percent of LGBTQ women candidates for office were discouraged to run due to their gender or gender identity, according to a report released Wednesday.

The new report from the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute and Loyola Marymount University’s LGBTQ+ Politics Research Initiative found that 27.2 percent of LGBTQ women candidates in the survey were discouraged from running because of their gender or gender identity. According to the report, the percentage of LGBTQ women who faced discouragement because of their gender or gender identity was four times higher than that of gay and bisexual men (7.1 percent).

“LGBTQ+ women face obstacles at greater rates than gay and bisexual men even before entering the race — and these disparities continue in various ways on the campaign trail,” the report reads. “This report brief shows women are more likely to be discouraged to run and worry more about harassment or attacks on the trail.”

The report also found that LGBTQ women face more attacks on their personal appearance, at 40.8 percent, versus their gay and bisexual male counterparts, at 27.8 percent. More LGBTQ women candidates were also more likely to face attacks on their personal appearance “at least weekly,” at 10.9 percent, versus gay and bisexual men at 4.9 percent.

Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute, said in a statement on the report that it is “clear” that the data shows that in comparison “to LGBTQ+ men candidates, LGBTQ+ women candidates are more likely to be discouraged from running for office based on their gender, are more likely to be attacked for their appearance and face greater media bias.”

“Despite the obstacles, LGBTQ+ women must continue to claim their seat at the table by running for office,” Parker said. “It’s on all of us to help level the playing field for LGBTQ+ women candidates by recruiting and supporting them, calling out media bias and holding bigots accountable.”

In the 2022 midterms, a record 340 openly LGBTQ candidates ran and won their elections in a so-called rainbow wave, with candidates such as current Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey (D), who became the nation’s first openly lesbian governor, notching wins.

The data from the report comes from an earlier survey by the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute and Loyola Marymount University. The survey was conducted between April 3 and May 17, 2023, with 473 American LGBTQ candidates, 147 of whom were women, who ran for office between 2018 and 2022.

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