Geographically Sexual?: Advancing Lesbian and Gay Interests Through Proportional Representation
Pace Law School
Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, Vol. 31, 1996
This article analyzes the challenges of political representation of lesbian and gay communities, arguing that a proportional representation system would serve the communities better. Although lesbian and gay communities have increased their political power, few elected officials represent lesbian and gay interests. Three characteristics of lesbians and gay men affect the representation of their interests: lesbians and gay men are officially unidentifiable, they have intersectional identities, and they are often geographically dispersed. Although many lesbians and gay men choose to live in areas with large lesbian and gay populations, sexual orientation does not necessarily correlate to geography, a fact that sharply limits district-based systems' ability to represent lesbian and gay interests. A proportional representation system would greatly expand possibilities for lesbian and gay interest representation. Although lacking the political power to force a change to a proportional system, the article argues that coalitions with other minority communities may help lesbians and gay men to achieve the broader goal of proportional representation to realize a more complete democracy.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 36
Keywords: lesbian, gay, intersectionality, proportional representation, voting rights
Date posted: April 24, 2006