Meet 7 LGBTQIA+ Women that made History (bonus? They’re all RFS alumni!)
As we wrap up Women’s History Month, Run for Something is excited to share 7 historic LGBTQIA+ women who are changing the game in their communities! Bonus: they’re all RFS alumni!
Tiara Mack (@MackDistrict6), Rhode Island State Senator
When she was elected to the Rhode Island Senate at just 26 years old, Tiara Mack unseated an incumbent who was elected nine years before she was born. A staunch champion of choice, even before she was elected, she testified in the Rhode Island legislature to codify Roe v. Wade into state law before the Dobbs decision was handed down. Since her election in 2020 she has fought for tenants’ rights, comprehensive sex education, and sponsored a sexual assault survivors Bill of Rights.
Upon her election she said, “I’m going to be unapologetically Black, I’m going to be unapologetically queer, and I’m going to be unapologetically young, and I’m going to push back against the system that tells us we don’t deserve justice now.” We know that’s right!
Danica Roem (@pwcdanica), Virginia State Delegate
We cannot overstate the massive glass ceiling that came shattering down when Virginia State Delegate Danica Roem was elected in 2017 as the first trans state legislator in U.S. history.
Since taking down a 20-plus year incumbent that authored a bathroom ban bill, 32 of her sponsored bills have been signed into law. These laws have had a massive impact on Virginians including making sure meals are available for kids in school and expanding health care access.
We’re constantly in awe of Danica — and she truly understands what we try to do at Run for Something. She has said, “No matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship or who you love, if you have good public policy ideas, if you’re qualified for office, you have every right to bring your ideas to the table,” Right on, Danica!
Jessica Benham (@jessicalbenham), Pennsylvania State Representative
When she was elected in 2020, Jessica Benham became the first openly LGBTQIA+ woman and the fist autistic person elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. This non-profit founder has been a leading advocate in the areas of disability rights, health care access, economic opportunity, environmental issues, & infrastructure.
Jessica is known for following up with constituents directly, especially encouraging young people, and she is well aware of the impact of her election. She has said, “People see themselves reflected in me, even when I’m not their rep. It is really cool.”
Brianna Titone (@BriannaForCO), Colorado State Representative
If we had to write a case study on how every single vote matters, Brianna Titone’s face would probably be the image. When she won her election by just over 400 votes in a race where only 50k ballots were cast, she became the first openly trans person elected to the Colorado legislature.
In the statehouse she has tackled issues like, choice, LGBTQIA+ equality and access, rural affairs, and energy. When discussing the impact of her three terms in the Colorado House Brianna said, “Representation matters. I mean, it really, really does. And I get a lot of people telling me in the role that I do now, whether I represent them or not, whether they’re in the same state or not, I get people from all over telling me that: “That it’s important that I’m here.”
Taylor Small (@TaylorSmallVT), Vermont State Representative
Taylor Small was always interested in politics, but she didn’t know the opportunity to run would present itself when she was just 26 years old. In 2020, Taylor became the first openly trans person elected to the Vermont legislature.
As someone who had experienced instability in their employment, Taylor was well aware of the gaps that people can encounter when trying to access health care. A conversation with an outgoing incumbent spurred her decision to run.
Since then Taylor has been an advocate for decriminalizing drug use & sex work, find solutions for housing insecurity, and protecting gender affirming care and abortion access. Of her historic run and subsequent election, Taylor has said, “I’m not doing it for myself,” Small said of her political career. “It’s about being community-centered.”
Sarah McBride (@SarahEMcBride), Delaware State Senator
“Remember me when you’re president one day.” That’s what a note signed by then Senator Joe Biden said when he met a 10 year old Saah McBride at a pizza place in Delaware. The tween had long been interested in politics when her path crossed with President Biden that fateful day.
Since then Sarah has had a storied political career, including being elected as the first openly trans state senator in history. She has built a reputation of working across the aisle and fighting for policies like paid family and medical leave after being her husband’s caretaker as he battled cancer.
While championing these issues, the impact of her place in history isn’t lost on Senator McBride. “I don’t think in my lifetime we will get to a point where [being a trans elected official] is so commonplace that it’s not noteworthy,” she says. “It is noteworthy. It is new to have trans people in these types of positions. It is important for trans people, myself included, to see examples of ourselves in politics and business and art throughout society.”
Zooey Zephyr (@ZoAndBehold), Montana State Representative
While she is firmly in the running for coolest RFS alumni name, Zooey Zephyr’s place in history was cemented when she became Montana’s first trans legislator. A perennial favorite social media follow, Zooey has been a vocal and fierce advocate against trans panic laws that seek to deny the full humanity of trans people including limiting access to gender affirming health care, banning trans youth from playing sports, and making drag performances illegal for certain audiences.
Zooey is confident that by being in the room where it happens she can impact long-term, meaningful change. “My hope is that by being present there … that people will begin to understand what it means to be trans, what it means to be a trans adult, and what it is we hope for trans children,” Zephyr said. “That they get to live their life, that they don’t have to hide the way I had to hide, the way other trans adults from past generations had to bury themselves.”
To help Run for Something elect even more incredible young, diverse progressives check out: runforsomething.net/join