Early last week, the world was all eyes on America as they took to the polls to vote in their next government. It was a historic and extremely grueling election given that the world is still going through a pandemic. It was also the first election where LGBTQ+ candidates showed up in large numbers and decided to run for different offices and get on the ballot. Perhaps this was because that they had had enough of Trump’s anti-LGBTQ+ government.
In this election , LGBTQ+ candidates made history on every level. More than 10 openly LGBTQ-identifying leaders will be convening in the 117th Congress come January. Here are some of the LGBTQ+ leaders who will be a part of the new government.
➤ Sarah McBride — Delaware
Sarah shattered the glass ceiling when she was elected the first openly transgender state senator in the United States. In her gratitude note on Twitter, she thanked her supporters and said she hoped that her win will show trans children that America’s democracy is big enough for them too.
➤ Torrey Harris — Tennessee
The 29 year old Torrey Harris became one of the youngest state lawmakers in Nashville after winning one of the most watched Tennessee House races. He is openly gay and promises to push for criminal justice reform, healthcare and public education.
➤ Eddie Mannis — Tennessee
Eddie, along with Torrey, made history by becoming the first openly gay politicians to serve in Tennessee General Assembly. Up to now, Tennessee was one of just five states in the country to have never elected an openly LGBTQ+ person to the state legislature. Representative Mannis said the issues he looks to address first include health care, education, and COVID-19 economic relief.
➤ Taylor Small — Vermont
The citizens of Vermont elected Small as the state’s first openly transgender representative. Speaking after the elections, she said her win has not sunk in yet but she hopes her victory shows young queer and trans people that they, too, have opportunities to be leaders.
➤ Kim Jackson — Georgia
Jackson’s landmark win has made her Georgia’s first ever openly LGBTQ+ state senator and she is also one of the three Black LGBTQ-identifying women serving as state senators. Jackson is also an Episcopal priest and her supporters hope she can diffuse legislators who claim religion as the reason they oppose equality and will make it clear that many LGBTQ+ people are of faith too. Her key campaign policy is to propose a “comprehensive anti-discrimination bill,” which would include sexual orientation, gender, religion, and ability.
➤ Ritchie Torres — New York
His win in the recent election makes him the first gay Afro Latino person to be elected to Congress. In his thank you tweet, Torres said he considers it an honor of a lifetime to represent a borough filled with essential workers who risked their lives so that New York City could “live” during the pandemic.
➤ Mondarie Jones — New York
He is the second gay black man to be elected to Congress. He says his first priority in office is to provide Covid-19 relief for millions of Americans. In his campaigns he has been open about his struggles as a poor young Black American man and his experience with homophobia and racism.
➤ Stephanie Byers — Kansas
Byers became the first openly trans state lawmaker of color elected. She says her top priorities are the health care needs of Kansans, which are paramount due to the pandemic. She also wants to reexamine the unemployment system in Kansas. She is inspired that humanity proved that the current election is not about identity but who is the best person for the job. She is ecstatic that being transgender doesn’t have to be a liability anymore when it comes to politics.
➤ Jabari Brisport — New York
Brisport become the first ever Black LGBTQ+ person elected to the New York state legislature. His supporters hope that his experiences as a Black LGBTQ+ man will provide an essential perspective that has never been represented in the New York state legislature and will pave the way for a government that is more representative of the people it serves.
➤ Mauree Turner — Oklahoma
Oklahoma now has its first openly non-binary, person of color, Muslim person elected to the state’s legislature. Turner has always spoken on her experience as a Muslim and being LGBTQ+. She took to social media thanking her supporters and acknowledging what the win means to her . Hopefully her victory will allow the Muslim community to see someone who is openly and visibly Muslim in elected office.
➤ Michele Rayner — Florida
Rayner is the first Black queer woman to win a seat in the Florida legislature and will be representing District 70 in the State House. She said her win represents a new day and she is ready to work on the change everyone deserves.
➤ Shevrin Jones — Florida
Jones has become the first openly gay state senator to be elected in the Sunshine State. He is already working on introducing a bill during the 2021 session to gut the controversial qualified immunity doctrine for police officers.
About the Author:
Christine Siamanta Kinori grew up in a little village in Kenya known as Loitoktok near the border of Kenya and Tanzania. All she wanted to do when she grew up was to explore the world. Her curiosity led her to join Nairobi University to pursue a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications. She later got a job with an amazing travel magazine Nomad Africa which gave her the opportunity to explore Africa. She also writes for numerous travel websites about Africa and tries to create a new narrative in the media about our aesthetic continent.
Christine claims to have somewhat unhealthy addiction to TV and reading, as it is a fun way to keep herself occupied during the long journeys for her travel writing. She is also a believer of letting people be their beautiful selves. To her, love is love and it is the greatest gift we have as humans.