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France's Far-Right Party Gains Popularity Amongst Gays

Freedom Requires Wings | by on




This is the Front National logo, but in rainbow colours...
Last Friday, France's Constitutional Council voted on a freedom of conscience act for French mayors who are unwilling to marry same-sex couples. The Council voted against the measure, and therefore this question can never arise again in French law. Their decision is definitive.

The very same day, Ifop released the latest survey into the growing popularity of the Front National (FN), France's far-right party. This is the party whose leader was called out by Madonna for having been to Neo-Nazi parties in Switzerland and who has trusted her party's funds in the hands of former GUD members (an extreme-right Christian student union).

However, the survey shows, yet again, that the Front National is continuing to rise in popularity amongst France's gay community.

According to the figures, the far-right has gained 5 points amongst gay electors, 7 points amongst bisexuals, and 4 points amongst heterosexuals since the last survey in April 2012, just before the presidential elections. The survey also revealed that the majority of gay supporters are younger and mostly men compared to heterosexual supporters. However, the most interesting of all the statistics collected shows that in Paris, 16% of heterosexuals support the Front National, whereas 26% of homosexuals are FN supporters.

But why? Living in France, I personally know gay people who vote for the Front National and you shouldn't be too surprised to know that their logic is a little twisted. The FN, being far-right, is naturally racist, xenophobic, nationalist and... anti-gay. Since 2005, a dramatic rise in the number of gay people living in Bordeaux who support the Front National has been noticed. Bordeaux is a more interesting example than Paris, however a parallel can be made between the two cases. Living in Bordeaux, and having spoken to a lot of people about the Front National rising in popularity, I've come to understand their logic.

Up until 2005, Bordeaux was a very gay-friendly city. Same-sex couples could openly walk down the street holding hands without any problems. However, in the space of 2 months, 5 gay men were murdered in the city. In one case, a young gay man was stabbed to death in front of his boyfriend in the city center. The blame was put on Bordeaux's prominent Arab community since a few of these hate crimes were in fact carried out by people of Arabic origins. The fear of being attacked in the street forced the city's gay community underground and many moved to Paris and neighbouring cities. Since then, the gay culture in Bordeaux has been slowly dying. The top gay bar shut its doors, others followed along with a nightclub this summer. Today, only one bar and one nightclub remain.

The reason gays are increasingly supporting the far-right is because they want to get the Arab community out of their cities. Sound racist? It is. I'm not saying I support that racist logic, but I can understand where they're coming from. Unfortunately, it's something that's becoming so common that even the FN itself has started to have gay candidates running in the mayoral elections. They've started to ease off on the homophobic rhetoric to try and appeal to France's LGBT community.

Worryingly, the gay community is rapidly slipping away from the left and the parties that gave them same-sex marriage and adoption rights, and towards the far-right. In autumn 2011, 50% of gays supported a left-wing party. 45% in April 2012, and 38% today. In the space of two years, the left has lost 12% of its gay electors and it's not to the UMP (the right wing party) whose also losing in popularity amongst gays. This is due to the economy and immigration.

Gay FN supporters believe if the FN gets elected, all their troubles will not all go away, but they'd rather spend 5 years under a far-right government than to fear for their lives in the street. I do not support this logic and I'll be the first to leave the country if they ever get elected. This logic is an overreaction to the situation. You can't tackle hate with more hate. That makes you just as bad as the murderers. I've spent a year living in Bordeaux and holding my boyfriend's hand in public at night and during the day and we haven't been stabbed to death yet!
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