US election 2020 sees groundbreaking victories for queer candidates

With nearly 600 queer candidates on the US election ballots, around a dozen have won their races in historic firsts for out Black and trans politicians.

Split screen of 4 queer candidates of US election 2020

A record number of queer candidates have won their races across the US election in a historic victory for LGBTQ+ representation in politics. 

While many people are awaiting results for the presidential race between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, the US election 2020 highlighted a seismic victory for trans candidates and openly queer Black candidates. There were an estimated 600 out candidates on the ballot, around 400 of whom were endorsed by American political action committee LGBTQ Victory Fund, and dozens won their races. 

LGBTQ Victory Fund wrote on Twitter, “With the presidential race still up in the air it is admittedly tough to focus on the positive, but tonight we elected our first trans state senator, our first non-binary state legislator and we are still on-track to double the number of trans state legislators nationwide.”

National Press Secretary of Human Rights Campaign, Sarah McBride became America’s first openly trans state senator with a historic victory in her race for Delaware State Senate on Tuesday. In the lead up to the vote, she shared with People, “I’m not running to make history or to make headlines. I’m running to make a difference in this community and to represent this community as best I can by bringing the full range of experiences and perspectives I have with such a long history in this community.”

Former mayor of Houston and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, Annise Parker said, “For Sarah to shatter a lavender ceiling in such a polarising year is a powerful reminder that voters are increasingly rejecting the politics of bigotry in favour of candidates who stand for fairness and equality. Her victory will inspire more trans people to follow in her footsteps and run for public office.”

In another groundbreaking win, civil rights attorney Michele Rayner-Goolsby has become the first Black queer woman to win a seat in the Florida legislature. Ahead of the vote in August, she wrote on Twitter, “It just hit me. I’m the first openly Black queer women ever elected in Florida at any level. Our team was led by a Black woman. It was anchored by women and women of colour. We won because we defined ourselves by ourselves.”

Alongside Rayner-Goolsby and McBride in making history, Ritchie Torres defeated Rubén Díaz Sr and will now take his position as the first Black LGBTQ+ congressmen. Lesbian Episcopal priest and social justice advocate Kim Jackson was also elected first out member of Georgia’s State Senate. 

Torrey Harris has secured a victory in his race to represent District 90 in Tennessee’s State House as the first out LGBTQ+ member of the state legislature. Openly queer Charmaine McGuffey was elected Sheriff for Hamilton County, Ohio, beating her former allegedly homophobic boss Jim Neal and Republican Bruce Hoffbauer. 

A recently retired teacher from Wichita, Stephanie Byers seized a groundbreaking victory by becoming Kansas’s first trans elected official after winning her bid for the Kansas House of Representatives 68th District. She will also be the first Native American trans person elected to any state legislature.

In another landmark moment, Mauree Turner has been elected to Oklahoma’s state House as America’s first non-binary state lawmaker as well as the first Muslim person to serve in Oklahoma’s state legislature. They wrote on Twitter, “I have a lot of feelings about tonight. But overall, I’m grateful for HD88 granting me this opportunity… Nothing about us without us.”

Among the numerous queer candidates paving the way for representation in US politics, Shevrin Jones, Mondaire Jones, and Jabari Brisport have all won their election races. Speaking about these historic wins in the US election, GLAAD CEO Sarah Kate Ellis expressed, “Their victories represent a leap forward for LGBTQ acceptance and a demand for more of the progress and equality that their very presence demonstrates. We can’t wait to see them shine in their new roles.”

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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