Though early estimates had the number of openly LGBT delegates planning to attend the Democratic National Convention at 470 people, 486 actually showed up representing more than 8% of the DNC .
This was the first time in Convention history when states set goals for sending LGBT delegates and 38 of the 50 states met or exceeded theirs.
“We’ve been an underrepresented demographic in politics for a long time,” Jerame Davis of National Stonewall Democrats told the Boston Herald. “Finally seeing us appropriately represented is just a thrill.”
Davis says that while 8 percent might seem like an overrepresentation of gays and lesbians — considering that the share of the US adult population is generally considered half that figure — he argues that it is an accurate reflection of the importance of LGBT voter loyalty and financial support to the Democratic party.
The Republican National Convention conversely did not make an effort to tally their number of LGBT delegates though estimates are in the “few dozen” zone. Log Cabin Republican Rep. Clark Cooper from Tampa, Florida told the Herald he was glad his party “doesn’t do identity politics,” adding, “I’d hate to think I’d been selected for something because of my orientation.”
Robert Loevy, a political science professor at Colorado College posits that the Dems are not pandering to the gay community, they’re just making political sense. “Having gays and lesbians be such a strong presence in the party brings in some campaign workers and brings in the money,” he said. “And most important, it wins the support of young people.”