When Does Sexuality-Based Discrimination Motivate Political Participation?

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Political Psychology, ISSN: 1467-9221, Vol: 39, Issue: 5, Page: 1013-1030

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Page, Douglas D.
Psychology; Social Sciences; Arts and Humanities; sexual minorities; political discrimination; Eastern Europe; Western Europe; sexuality-based discrimination; Comparative Politics; Gender and Sexuality; Political Science
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The established consensus in political behavior research is that discrimination by political institutions motivates marginalized groups to vote and protest their conditions. However, existing studies miss a comparison between states with high and low levels of political discrimination, and they miss a comparison between states before and after the development of opportunities for groups to mobilize. In particular, a growing body of research shows that sexual-minority groups face discrimination to varying degrees across Europe. Sexual minorities in states with high levels of discrimination lack the support of other minority-group members, which encourages political participation. The analysis is based on surveys of 30 European countries, conducted before and after the 2004 European Union enlargement, which provided a stronger political-opportunity structure for sexual minorities in Eastern Europe. Eastern Europe and Western Europe provided contexts with relatively high and low levels of sexuality-based discrimination, respectively. In Western Europe, those who report sexuality-based discrimination exhibited higher levels of participation, in comparison to those who did not report discrimination. In Eastern Europe, those who report sexuality-based discrimination exhibited lower levels of participation before the 2004 enlargement, but they did not exhibit these lower levels after the 2004 enlargement.