Krysten Sinema has become the United States’ first openly bisexual senate nominee after a decisive victory at the Arizona primaries on Tuesday. The Democratic nominee took 80% of the vote as she ran against Deedra Abboud, an activist.
The pro-choice nominee has vowed to advance LGBT+ rights, as well as taking a firm stance against sexual harassment in Congress. As a congresswoman, Sinema introduced legislation that would prevent politicians from using the taxpayer’s money to silence victims of sexual harassment, saying: “There is no excuse for that behaviour, and taxpayers should never be on the hook for the inappropriate and criminal actions of politicians in Washington.”
Annise Parker, the president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund released a statement highlighting the significance of Sinema’s win, saying “Arizona voters have shattered a lavender ceiling” as Sinema is “on track to be just the second openly LGBTQ US senator in US history”. Parker went on to say “We need Kyrsten, not just because the LGBTQ community needs her, but because America needs her.”
Sinema spent much of her adolescence in homelessness, living for three years in an abandoned gas station with her family, relying on food stamps. Before she entered Congress she worked as a teacher and as a social worker. She now makes history as the first openly bisexual nominee for US Senate. Parker has dubbed her the “embodiment of the American dream” describing her as “committed to improving lives for all Americans”.
Sinema faces Republican nominee Martha McSally in November’s bid to become Arizona’s Senator. McSally bested the far-right candidate Joe Arpaio in the Republican primary. McSally, who has been endorsed by Donald Trump, opposes federal protections for transgender students and supports “religious exemption” laws, which allow for discrimination against LGBT+ people. In 2012, she called for a ban on same-sex marriage. Either way, Arizona is set to elect its first female senator in November.
In another victory for LGBT+ politics, Joan Greene won the Democratic nomination in the fifth Congressional District, also in Arizona. Greene, who is a lesbian, will face opponent Andy Biggs in November. In 2015, Biggs called the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality an “affront to millions of Americans who believe marriage is between a man and a woman”.
These recent successes mean that there are now a total of 16 LGBT+ nominees at a federal level in the US; a record high in American politics.
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