Characteristics of LGBT Allies and Opponents

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date



College of Arts and Sciences



Faculty Sponsor

April S. Masarik


Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals suffer from depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and much more due to bullying and other forms of discrimination (e.g., Rivers, 2001; Phoenix et al., 2003). This begs the question: how do negative views of LGBTs develop and what continues to foster it? To address this question, we explored individual differences between those who claim to support LGBT rights (i.e., LGBT 'allies") and those who do not (i.e., LGBT "opponents”). Specifically, we examined whether the earlier family environment, political affiliation, and religious affiliation correlated with one’s level of LGBT support. We administered a survey to undergraduate students here at Boise State University (n = 137; M age = 22. 9). Of the 137 participants, 105 (76%) reported they support all LGBT rights, 23 (17%) reported supporting some LGBT rights, and 9 (6%) reported not supporting any LGBT rights. Participants were more likely to report supporting all LGBT rights if they experienced less family aggression in childhood, identified as Catholic (as opposed to Christian), and identified as a Democrat (as opposed to Republican). We will discuss these findings in light of past research on LGBT communities and provide recommendations for the future.

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