The gay social networking app Hornet recently questioned its French users about the upcoming election in their country.
The app collected 5,224 responses and the results are somewhat surprising.
In the age group of 18-29 year olds (which accounted for almost half of all responses), 40% were in favor of Le Pen. The result is as high as 49% for 25-year-old respondents.
Overall in the Under 30 age group, 56.5% favored Macron and 43.5% preferred Le Pen.
With the 30-49 year old age group, only 32.2% supported Le Pen. Hornet believes this to be because this age group ‘knew the Front National before Marine Le Pen took over in 2010 with her attempt to de-demonize the extreme right party. They may recall her father Jean-Marie Le Pen’s homophobic and serophobic remarks.’
In the category of 50+ year olds, only 20% supported Le Pen.
France’s election takes place on Sunday (7 May). If Le Pen is elected, she plans to end same-sex marriage and implement other policies that would harm France’s LGBTI population. Macron has vowed to protect the rights of LGBTI individuals.
The phenomenon of young, gay, white men voting for far-right candidates isn’t new. It was seen in the U.K with Theresa May. Though her voting record on LGBTI rights is abysmal, many white gay men are still supporting her in the upcoming 8 June election.
Both Le Pen and May have pandered to the LGBTI community despite their voting history. The reason they’re able to win the support of so many LGBTI individuals is largely due to the rising xenophobia in Europe.
Though Le Pen plans to repeal marriage equality, the National Front has claimed that same-sex marriage is ‘no longer a concern’ for gay people. ‘LGBT people are far more worried about being attacked by Muslims on the street,’ leaders of the National Front say.
Michael Segalov, writing for The Independent, says, ‘In both France and in Britain the right have long attempted to pit white gay men against these other marginalised identities; ‘those Muslims want to kill you’ they’ll gleefully and wrongly say.’
‘One doesn’t need to scratch far beneath the surface to see this in action. It’s the ‘no Blacks, no Asians’ profiles that adorn Grindr daily and those who wave their rainbow flags as part of the LGBT division of the EDL,’ he continues.
‘And so gay men take up this position, supporting the homophobic and xenophobic far-right. In Britain some throw those with less status under the bus to cling onto their new found privilege – in France it seems rampant Islamophobia trumps gay men wanting to keep their own civil rights.’