Story at a glance
- LGBTQ+ candidates have secured historic victories in recent years, including the 2018 "rainbow wave."
- This year, more LGBTQ+ are on the ballot than ever before.
- Many candidates would be the first LGBTQ+ person to hold that office, if elected.
For an entire generation of LGBTQ+ political candidates, election is not just a personal victory, but a historic one. All 50 states have elected openly LGBTQ+ people to political office in some capacity, but representation is still lacking in a number of positions from local to federal levels of government.
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In the 2020 election cycle, at least 850 LGBTQ+ candidates have appeared or will appear on ballots in the United States, according to the LBGTQ Victory Fund, almost twice as many as the 2018 election cycle. And for at least 68 of them, they will be on the ballot during the month of Pride, which celebrates the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots against police treatment of LGBTQ+ people.
“An unprecedented number of LGBTQ candidates are running for office this cycle, which provides us the opportunity to elect a historic number come November,” said Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and former mayor of Houston, in a release. “We are intensely focused on state legislative candidates in particular – as LGBTQ people are running for key seats that can block the flood of anti-LGBTQ bills and determine control of state legislative chambers. Our LGBTQ candidates can have an enormous impact on American politics in 2020. If they win, the country will be better off for it.”
The LGBTQ Victory Fund, which is dedicated to electing LGBTQ candidates to public office, has endorsed 240 candidates for this year and five candidates for 2021 New York City Council races. One of them, Marti Gould Allen-Cummings, would become the first nonbinary person and first drag artist to serve on the New York City Council, if elected.
Other potential firsts include two candidates running to become the first out LGBTQ+ members of the Indiana House of Representatives, Garrett Blad and Ashley Klein, who won their primary races on June 2. In New York, Kristen Browde would become the first out trans official in the state, if elected, while Rosemary Ketchum is running to become the first out trans person in West Virginia. And in Baltimore, Akil Patterson and Phillip Westry, who won their primary races on June 2, could become the first out LGBTQ+ members of the Baltimore City Council if elected.
Parker said in a release, “It comes at a time when twin crises are tearing at our nation and true leadership is desperately needed. LGBTQ candidates are more diverse than candidates at-large and our lives and experiences make us stronger and more compassionate leaders. Right now, we are seeing LGBTQ elected officials at work – taking a leading role in addressing both the pandemic and the racism that led to the killings of George Floyd and so many others.”
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