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Homonationalism in Austria and Germany

Europe (Central and Eastern)
Democracy
Party Manifestos
Comparative Perspective
Michael Hunklinger
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Michael Hunklinger
Justus-Liebig-University Giessen
Tina Olteanu
Justus Liebig University Giessen

Abstract

At first glance, right-wing populists and members of the LGBTIQ* community have nothing in common. Still, right wing populists also attract voters from the LGBTIQ* community. This paper deals with LGBTIQ* voters in Austria and Germany that voted for right-wing populist parties, e.g. FPÖ and AfD in the local elections in Vienna (2015) and Berlin (2016) based on a survey done by the authors. Our research questions are quite simple but intriguing: What is the position of the two right-wing parties towards the LGBTIQ* community? Who are the voters of right-wing populist parties in the community and what are their political attitudes and motivations? First, we will discuss the term ‘homonationalism’ as introduced by Jasbir Puar in 2007and the (varying) usage and outline our approach. Second, we will look at the party programs of the Freedom Party (FPÖ) in Austria and the Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Germany, since their policy positions concerning LGBTIQ* rights are very clear and in opposition to what should be the interests of the LGBTIQ* communities, like the right to marry or adopt children. In this context we will also review the commitment of right-wing LGBTIQ*-politicians who are out and still support their party. Third, we analyze right-wing parties and right-wing voting in Austria and Germany. This analysis is based on two surveys dealing with electoral preferences and political attitudes of the LGBTIQ* community. We, together with our project partners, have conducted these surveys during the local elections in Vienna in 2015 and Berlin in 2016. It shows that in both elections, a significant part of the LGBTIQ* community supported and voted for a right-wing party (FPÖ in Vienna and AfD in Berlin). This provides possible answers to explain these circumstances.