Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

David Kimball


Adriano Udani


David Kimball

Adriano Udani

David Robertson

Farida Jalalzai


Generally, attitudes in the United States towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons have become more favorable in recent years. Obviously, examining the politics of LGBTI persons and attitudes towards them is important considering that this demographic may account for 10% of the U.S. population; but a more inconspicuous reason it that examinations provide insight into the political landscape of how political minorities address various issues and interests. However, in studying public opinion towards gays and lesbians it is discovered that racial minorities, particularly African-Americans, generally possess negative attitudes to LGBTI persons and possess higher percentages of homophobic persons when compared to Whites. Some may assert the notion of racial minorities being more homophobic goes against logical arguments of empathy, considering that racial minorities have historically and, to some extent, currently face discrimination and marginalization. This dissertation is an examination of the salient homophobia among racial minorities in light of national attitudes that are becoming more favorable towards the gay and lesbian minority.

The explanations in literature are too often reliant on the antiquated narratives of religiosity, particularly the salience of the Black Church. This study asserts merit for a new theory, termed repercussive discrimination, which may be equally as impactful in understanding negative attitudes towards LGBTI persons. Based on the principles of transference, this theory asserts that an experience with racial discrimination is casual in homophobic attitudes for racial minorities. This study arrives at this determination by using a mixed methods approach to determine assess the significance of variables in determining a racial minority’s propensity towards homophobia measured in different ways. By performing quantitative analyses of statistical data from 2000-2014 from the American National Election Study (ANES) and the General Social Survey (GSS) and qualitative analysis of expert interviews, public records, and audiovisual materials, this dissertation finds: (1) no singular variable can explain homophobia for racial minorities; and (2) there is legitimacy for theories, which prompt new approaches to understanding these attitudes, such as repercussive discrimination.