US election sets record number for LGBTQ+ candidates

Over 500 LGBTQ+ candidates on the November ballot, breaking an all-time record for the upcoming United States election.

Bulletin board declaring voting day, with 'I voted' stickers in the foreground

This upcoming US election is one of the most important in American history to date. It could be argued that this vote will be when the American people decide to take their power back, including the LGBTQ+ community. Fittingly, this US election sets a record with the highest number of LGBTQ+ candidates on the November ballot.

574 LGBTQ+ candidates will appear on the ballot, a 33% increase from the 432 candidates running in the 2018 general election, NBC News reports.

There are currently two LBGTQ+ senators in the Senate and seven representatives in the House. With eight new candidates running for House seats, if they all win, it will double the number to 15 LGBTQ+ representatives in the House.

Representative Jon Hoadley from Kalamazoo, Michigan, spoke to GCN about this record-breaking year, saying “I got my start in politics advocating on LGBTQ+ issues, and I’m honoured to be a part of such a great slate of LGBTQ+ candidates running for office this year. Just as I’ve done in my time as a state legislator, I’ll continue to uplift equality and champion opportunity for everyone as a Member of Congress.”

Candidates also include former US Air Force Captain Gina Ortiz Jones running for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. When asked why she is running, Capt. Ortiz Jones answered, “…we need leaders with the moral integrity and courage required at this moment as the very fabric of our country is being tested.” If Capt. Ortiz Jones wins, she will be the first Filipino American Woman and the first openly gay representative from Texas.

Also running are Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, two Democrats from New York, who, if elected, would be the first black gay men serving Congress. Ritchie Torres became the youngest elected official in New York City, and the first openly LGBTQ+ elected official from the Bronx at age 25. Torres proudly states, “I’ll fight for quality health care and housing, schools and jobs. I’ll stand up for immigrants, seniors, and youth. I’ll fight every day to protect our neighbourhoods from gun violence and make the Bronx a safe, decent, affordable place to live. My motto in life is simple: ‘If you do nothing, nothing will change’…”

It’s not just gay men and lesbians that make up the candidates, those identifying as genderqueer and non-binary jumped from six candidates in the 2018 election, to 25 for the November 3 election.

Louise Snodgrass is running to be the first genderqueer state legislator from South Dakota, and Sarah McBride is on course to become the first transgender state senator. McBride currently serves as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ advocacy organisation. In 2016, she made history when she spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

California, Florida, and Texas have the highest number of LGBTQ+ candidates, while Alabama is the only state this election cycle to have none. Alaska, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Delaware have never elected an open LGBTQ+ candidate, but this could change this November. Lyn Franks and Torrey Harris are running for state legislator in Alaska, Brandon Thomas running in Tennessee, and Sarah McBride running for senator in Delaware.

It’s clear that the American people want to be represented across the board when it comes to diversity in race, religion, ethnicity, and sexuality. America wants to have leaders that not only look like them but represent the same ideals and struggles they go through.

The sudden spike in LGBTQ+ candidates is no coincidence, there are a lack of leaders listening to the LGBTQ+ community in the United States, and during this upcoming election on November 3, the people are determined to change that.

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

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