How Your Campaign Can Engage LGBTQIA+ Voters
June 2, 2021
June is Pride Month! Happy Pride! This time of the year commemorates the LGBTQIA+ community’s historic struggles and victories. It recognizes the work that still needs to be done, while celebrating the beautiful diversity and vibrancy of the LGBTQIA+ community. This is also the perfect time to renew your commitment to supporting queer people, and engage LGBTQIA+ voters with your campaign.
LGBTQIA+ folks exist in every state and city throughout the country. They’re our colleagues, neighbors, friends, and loved ones. As a candidate or elected official, you aim to represent and protect these individuals as a vital and vibrant part of the American mosaic. Furthermore, votes from the LGBTQIA+ community are essential to winning elections within any electorate.
Why is the LGBTQ Vote Important?
LGBTQIA+ voters make up about 5.6% of adult Americans, which is nearly 18 million people. These 18 million people come from every walk of life. Their makeup includes diverse races, abilities, genders, ages, religions, as well as socio-economic statuses.
However, like any marginalized group, LGBTQIA+ folx are not a monolith. Each person has a different set of experiences and life circumstances. This means, issues considered to only affect the LGBTQIA+ community, intersect with other marginalized populations. For example, LGBTQ issues can be disability rights issues, as well. Many queer folx have disabilities, and, as such, face discrimination based off both identities. Issues of race matter to queer people, as many Black, indigenous, people of color belong to the LGBTQIA+ community. These issues span healthcare and job opportunities to equal access to a quality education.
Another important consideration in engaging the LGBTQIA+ community is connecting with younger voters. The adults of Gen Z alone – people aged 18 – 23 – make up an astonishing 15.9% of LGBTQIA+ adults. So, as you seek to earn the youth vote, as well as inspire the next generation of leaders and thinkers, you’ll want to actively listen to this demographic within the LGBTQ community.
As LGBTQIA+ individuals gain more visibility and acceptance, the world, hopefully, will become slightly safer for a queer person. We can assume folx will become increasingly more comfortable with coming out and living as their true selves. This means, as progress is made towards a more equitable world, the LGBTQ contingent of the vote is increasingly consequential.
Winning the LGBTQ Vote
Here are a few important points to consider when you engage with LGBTQIA+ voters. The first is that language matters. Always use inclusive language in campaign communications, and maintain diversity in messaging. Be sure to use the correct language when discussing LGBTQ issues; voters notice incorrect terminology.
For more information on inclusive messaging, check out NDTC’s blog post: “Language Matters: Inclusion in Campaign Messaging.”
It’s equally important to build relationships and discuss issues that matter to every LGBTQIA+ voter. In many elections, these issues may be similar to those of the wider community, such as education or healthcare. But in other races, there may be policies of greater importance to LGBTQIA+ voters. Do the research and listen to queer voters and advocates in your community about their concerns.
Finally, hearing the stories of LGBTQIA+ voters is vital in order to engage with the wider community.
In order to learn more about engaging with the LGBTQIA+ community, check out GLAAD’s Media Reference Guide.
Broadly speaking, members of the LGBTQ community will vote for officials who will support inclusivity and equality.
As a candidate or an elected official, you have a responsibility to stand up for the LGBTQIA+ community. To do this, representation is essential. Maintaining diversity in your campaign, from messaging to hiring practices, is necessary. By having a diverse campaign, you incorporate a core value of inclusion and a broad set of perspectives, which benefits your campaign in the long run.
Check out NDTC’s Medium page in order to learn more about creating an inclusive campaign: “The Three Best Management Practices For Your Campaign.”
Victory Fund and Victory Institute Can Help!
If you are an LGBTQ candidate, LGBTQ Victory Fund has resources to help you win your election! Victory Fund has helped hundreds of LGBTQ candidates win in races across the country. They work to increase the amount of openly LGBTQ elected officials by providing campaign, fundraising, and communications support.
In order to learn more about Victory Fund’s work, check out their website!
In addition to NDTC’s course offerings, Victory Fund also provides campaign training to LGBTQ candidates through its partner organization, LGBTQ Victory Institute. Through its training and leadership development programs, Victory Institute works to ensure the success of openly LGBTQ officials in all levels of government,
Engage With LGBTQ Voters Today!
Engaging LGBTQIA+ voters is imperative to winning your election, and creating more inclusive policies. It’s important your campaign understands the basics of advocating for diversity and inclusion. NDTC’s course, “Foundations of Inclusive Practice,” teaches how to be an active contributor to conversations about equity and justice in politics. You’ll understand how to engage with different marginalized groups, including the LGBTQ community, on behalf of your campaign or organization.
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