Intersectionality, Linked Fate, and LGBTQ Latinx Political Participation

Published date01 December 2019
Date01 December 2019
Subject MatterMini-Symposium: Identity Politics and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
/tmp/tmp-18WJkhvXsCuYvO/input 847293PRQXXX10.1177/1065912919847293Political Research QuarterlyMoreau et al.
Mini-Symposium: Identity Politics and the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election
Political Research Quarterly
2019, Vol. 72(4) 976 –990
Intersectionality, Linked Fate, and
© 2019 University of Utah
Article reuse guidelines:
LGBTQ Latinx Political Participation
DOI: 10.1177/1065912919847293
Julie Moreau1, Stephen Nuño-Pérez2, and Lisa M. Sanchez3
This article uses the concepts of intersectionality and linked fate to understand the relationship between group identification
and political behavior among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) and non-LGBTQ Latinx individuals.
Drawing on the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial Post-Election Survey (CMPS), we find that LGBTQ Latinx respondents
report feelings of linked fate to both the Latinx and LGBTQ community, and that LGBTQ Latinx respondents exhibit
more political participation than their non-LGBTQ Latinx counterparts. We then find that Latinx and LGBTQ linked fate
are significant predictors of participation for non-LGBTQ respondents, and LGBTQ linked fate to predict LGBTQ Latinx
participation. Finally, we provide evidence that suggests that feeling linked fate toward more than one marginalized group
does not necessarily translate into participation in a greater number of political activities, demonstrating the complexity
of group identification for predicting political participation. This study contributes to the theorizing of linked fate and
political participation by deploying an intersectional lens that challenges assumptions of Latinx and LGBTQ intragroup
political coherence and illuminates the complex effects that different kinds of linked fate have on political participation.
Latinx, LGBTQ, linked fate, intersectionality, political behavior, race
compared with his electoral rival Hillary Clinton
(Diamond 2016). Following the shooting at Pulse, a queer
Analysis of the aftermath of the U.S. 2016 presidential
Latinx nightclub in Florida, Trump pledged to protect les-
election has been characterized by renewed attempts to
bian and gay Americans, but did not mention that the
understand who participates in politics, who does not, and
majority of the victims of the shooting were Latinx
why. Research suggests that race, class, and gender played
(Beckwith 2016). His rhetoric served to construct LGBTQ
major roles in predicting voters’ support for the current
and Latinx communities as separate and erase the exis-
President (Strolovitch, Wong, and Proctor 2017). tence of those that belong to both. Polling indicated that
Specifically, those who voted for Donald Trump tended to
LGBTQ voters were not swayed by Trump’s ouvertures,
be white men of moderate- to high-income levels and rela-
as the Trump-Pence ticket did not attract any more
tively intolerant of racial difference (Huang et al. 2016;
LGBTQ voters than previous Republican tickets (Edelman
McElwee and McDaniel 2016). Indeed, race is indispens-
1993; NBC News Exit Poll Desk 2016).
able to understanding the election, which featured a consis-
The 2016 U.S. election thus offers one example of how
tent racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric. Donald Trump referred
group identities become politically salient and impact
to Mexicans as “rapists” and “criminals” in his announce-
political participation. However, these identities do not
ment of his presidential bid (Time Staff 2015). His promise
become politicized in identical ways, as exemplified by
to “build a wall” along the U.S.–Mexico border left no
the hostile rhetoric directed at Latinx communities and the
doubt that his anti-immigrant discourse was also an anti-
Latinx1 discourse. Initial polling suggested that Latinx vot-
ers received this message loud and clear, and cast their
1University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
ballots for other candidates (Sanchez and Barreto 2016).
Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, USA
3The University of Arizona, Tucson, USA
Trump’s discourse around lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-
gender, and queer (LGBTQ) issues during the campaign
Corresponding Author:
differed substantially. When it comes to LGBTQ2 indi-
Julie Moreau, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto,
100 St. George Street, Suite 3018, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S
viduals, Trump was unexpectedly welcoming, insisting
that he was the “real friend” of the LGBTQ community

Moreau et al.
inclusive rhetoric directed at LGBTQ people. Furthermore,
which group interests serve as a proxy for one’s individ-
as was apparent in Trump’s rhetoric, multiply marginal-
ual interest, has emerged among black Americans and
ized individuals and experiences tend to be erased from
helps to explain some elements of participation. This
political discourse. Given the growing number of individ-
sense of “linked fate,” according to Simien (2005, 529),
uals who identify as Latinx, LGBTQ, and LGBTQ Latinx
involves both a “feeling of closeness to others who iden-
(Duran 2018; Flores, López, and Radford 2017; Pérez
tify with the group label” and the notion that one’s life
2014), grasping what motivates the political participation
chances “are inextricably tied to the group as a whole.”
of these populations is increasingly important. This article
Linked fate is a result of historical marginalization and
undertakes this project by examining the concept of linked
reinforced by the fact that black Americans have “been
fate to understand feelings of group identification and
treated as group members rather than as individuals”
their effect on political behavior. In addition, drawing
(Capers and Smith 2016, 31). Although research demon-
from the literature on intersectionality, we do so while
strates that group consciousness plays a major role in the
looking closely at the intersection of race, sexuality, and
political participation of black Americans (Austin,
gender to understand Latinx participation. We therefore
Middleton, and Yon 2012), being assigned a particular
ask: Do LGBTQ Latinx respondents feel a sense of linked
identity does not necessarily mean an individual will
fate with the LGBTQ and/or Latinx community? If so,
develop such a consciousness. For example, Simien
does having a sense of linked fate to one or both these
(2005) found differing levels of group consciousness
communities make them more or less likely to participate
among black men and women.
in a variety of political activities? Does linked fate to
Since the publication of Dawson’s foundational work,
racial/ethnic and sexual/gender communities operate the
scholars of race and ethnicity have argued that linked fate
same way?
also operates for other groups, including Latinx people,
Using data from the 2016 Collaborative Multiracial
though they caution that the concept may work differ-
Post-Election Survey (CMPS), we find evidence that
ently than for non-Latinx black Americans (Brown 2014;
LGBTQ Latinx respondents feel linked fate to both the
McClain et al. 2009; Sanchez and Masuoka 2010;
Latinx and LGBTQ communities. Second, we find that
Sanchez and Vargas 2016). Stokes (2003) finds a rela-
LGBTQ Latinx respondents are more likely than their
tionship between increased panethnic group conscious-
non-LGBTQ Latinx counterparts to engage in all but one
ness and increased political participation across Latinxs,
of the political activities we examined. Third, we find
including those of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban
LGBTQ linked fate to be significant predictors of partici-
descent. Valdez (2011) finds an influential role of linked
pation for LGBTQ respondents and non-LGBTQ respon-
fate among Latinx individuals, depending on whether
dents, and Latinx linked fate to be a predictor for
they privilege their racial, ethnic, or panethnic identities
non-LGBTQ respondents. Finally, we provide evidence
in their self-understandings. Thus, the extent to which
that suggests that feeling linked fate toward more than one
linked fate affects Latinx participation varies according
marginalized group does not translate into participation in
to other identities or demographic variables.
a greater number of political activities, though this does
Indeed, there are inherent complexities in grouping of
not preclude the possibility that it translates into different
individuals under the umbrella “Latinx,” which can con-
forms of political participation. These findings contribute
ceal important differences (Beltran 2010; Juárez 2018;
to existing literature by developing clearer expectations of
Rodríguez 2003). For example, some Latinx individuals
the level of political engagement that the LGBTQ Latinx
may face linguistic barriers to political participation
population is likely to have. Although most studies of
(Brown 2014). In terms of country of origin, once eligible
Latinx linked fate examine feelings of group belonging
to vote, Latinx individuals born abroad tend to register
based on one identity, we draw on the concept of intersec-
and vote more frequently than Latinx people born in the
tionality to assess the simultaneous pull of racial/ethnic
United States (Lien 1994). The negative effect of not hav-
and sexual/gender minority affiliation and provide evi-
ing citizenship status is...

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