By Thomas Whitfield
NYC is a mostly liberal bubble, which can feel very comforting to many minority populations, including LGBTQ people. Dating across party lines does happen; it is possible to be LGBTQ and still be a conservative, or even a Trump supporter.
I’d been with my boyfriend for a year before I found out he is a Republican. I assumed he was a Democrat, but then he told me he was voting for Trump. It was difficult for me to understand, and we decided not to talk about it. Here we are, two years later, and he’s still a supporter. Other than this, our relationship is pretty good, but we do fight about politics now—a lot. Is it OK to break up with someone over this? – Male, Gay, 32
In 2012, my boyfriend at the time wanted Romney to win. He was in medical school and thought that by him winning, medical costs would continue to go up, and he would be able to make more money. My concerns were equality for the gay community; his were financial. I don’t think politics is about “who” someone is, but it can tell you a lot about what others value. You said you guys are arguing a lot, which is never good for a relationship. It seems this could be that either you’re not communicating in a way that allows both of you to feel heard and understood, or you have entirely different values. Neither is great for a relationship. Are you able to have rational political conversations? Are you listening to each other? Do you share enough common values that you both want the same for your futures? I think it’s important that you don’t simply not talk about it or ignore it. For some, political differences might be enough to end a relationship, but for you it may not be.
My girlfriend doesn’t care about politics, and it’s driving me crazy. We’ve only been dating for six months, and I like her a lot, but the other day she told me that she’s never voted, doesn’t pay attention to the news and just doesn’t think any of this will ever affect her. She’s from a rich family, and as much as I love her, she really hasn’t had to deal with many tough blows. How can I make her see how important this is? – Female, Gay, 27
Sometimes people just don’t see the same things as important that you do, and I’m not convinced you can change that. You can either accept that this is who she is and let it go, or try talking to her about why it’s important to you, without the goal being to make her care/vote. In relationships you want to be open and honest—but your goal can’t be to change the other person to fit you better. It’s also possible that the things you value and see as important might be things that she’s taken for granted. You expressing your thoughts on the risk of losing them might help her to see things similar to you. I think voting is extremely important, but not everyone agrees.