Foundation stones in the resource mobilization theory of social movements are the notions of “conscience adherents” and “conscience constituents,” first introduced by McCarthy and Zald in 1977. In this article, we revisit the concept of conscience adherent, by applying it to individuals and groups that are direct supporters of an LGBT movement, but who do not stand to directly benefit from the success should the movement accomplish its goals. Using quantitative data collected during Pride parades in Stockholm, Haarlem, London, and Warsaw, we analyze the group of participants who reported that they were lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and compare them to heterosexual and gender-conforming participants, identifying factors that explain why people in the latter category participate in Pride parades. We argue that experiences of discrimination, knowing people from the beneficiary group, and/or subscribing to general principles of justice, contribute to conscience adherent participation. Furthermore, based on interviews with Pride parade organizers, we argue that mobilizations based on a more inclusive political strategy will attract more non-LGBT participants.

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Author notes

* The study was conceived and developed in collaboration between the co-authors. Wahlström and Peterson wrote most parts of the text with some contributions from Wennerhag. Wahlström conducted the regression analyses. Wennerhag did the class analysis as well as the main part of the coding and organization of the dataset.

Mattias Wahlström is associate professor at the Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg.

Abby Peterson is professor emerita at the Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg.

Magnus Wennerhag is associate professor at the Department of Social Science, Södertörn University, and researcher at the Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg.

This study was supported by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (P2013-0861:1), the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS 2008-1799), and the European Science Foundation (ESF-08-ECRP-001). Thanks to Cristiana Olcese for assistance with data gathering, as well as Hans Ekbrand and Olof Reichenberg for methodological advice. We would also like to thank Stefaan Walgrave, the editors of Mobilization and the anonymous reviewers for valuable comments on previous versions of this manuscript.