LGBT Equality and Sexual Racism

16 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2018

See all articles by Russell K. Robinson

Russell K. Robinson

University of California, Berkeley

David M. Frost

University College London

Date Written: June 22, 2018


This Article uses the fiftieth anniversary of Loving v. Virginia to juxtapose the public legal posture of LGBT litigants with the private practices of racial discrimination in intimate relationships, or “sexual racism.” In arguing for marriage equality, LGBT litigants and groups successfully relied on the U.S. Supreme Court’s Loving decision for its recognition of the right to marry as fundamental and the Court’s refusal to defer to a history of discrimination. Yet at the same time, social science studies suggest that sexual racism is prevalent among LGBT people, especially gay men. Indeed, some studies indicate a greater prevalence among gay white men than their straight counterparts. We argue that some white people’s aversion to dating and forming relationships with people of color is a form of racism, and this sexual racism is inconsistent with the spirit of Loving. This Article reviews the relevant literature and offers a new theory, namely, that exposure to mainstream gay culture may teach sexual minority men that race and desire are closely intertwined. We close by identifying pressing directions for future research on this important topic.

Suggested Citation

Robinson, Russell K. and Frost, David M., LGBT Equality and Sexual Racism (June 22, 2018). Fordham Law Review, Vol. 86, 2018, Available at SSRN:

Russell K. Robinson (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-3932 (Phone)

David M. Frost

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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