For the first time in the nation’s history, Americans in all 50 states and the District of Columbia will have the opportunity to elect an LGBTQ person to public office.
a new report by the LGBTQ Victory Fund political action committee found that of the 1,065 LGBTQ candidates who ran primary campaigns, a historic 678 of them, the vast majority of whom are Democrats, will appear on the ballot in November, an increase of 18.1% from the 2020 general election
The record election year comes as a record number of anti-LGBTQ laws have been introduced in state legislatures across the country and as Homophobic tropes have resurfaced in the nation’s dominant political discourse.
“Voters are sick and tired of the relentless attacks launched against the LGBTQ community this year,” Annise Parker, president and CEO of the Victory Fund and former Houston mayor, said in a statement. “The fans want us to stay home. and remain silent, but their attacks are backfiring and have instead motivated a new wave of LGBTQ leaders to run for office.”
More than 340 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced in state legislatures this year, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ advocacy group. The proposed legislation consists largely of measures that would limit transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams that match their gender identity, access to gender-affirming care for transgender people, and instruction on issues related to sexual orientation or gender identity at school.
This year, conservative lawmakers, television pundits and other public figures have accused opponents of a florida education law – which critics have dubbed the “don’t say gay” law — of trying to “train” or “indoctrinate” children. The word “cleanliness” has long been associated with mischaracterizing LGBTQ people, particularly gay men and transgender women, as child sexual molesters.
Gabriele Magni, assistant professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and director of the school’s LGBTQ Policy Research Initiative, said having queer politicians in office can serve as a powerful tool to counter anti-sentiment. LGBTQ in the nation. politics and politics.
He cited Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, as an example. Baldwin, the first openly gay person elected to the US Senate, led efforts to codify same-sex marriage into federal law earlier this year. The Senate will vote on the bill. after the midterm electionsand Baldwin has largely been tasked with working across the aisle to win over Republicans.
“By being in office, they make things more personal for other legislators,” Magni said. “So if you’re voting against some LGBTQ rights, you’re no longer voting against LGBTQ rights in the abstract, but you’re voting to deny rights to someone who sits next to you every day at work.”
Beyond getting laws passed, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer legislators often use their political megaphones to advocate on behalf of the community, Magni added. She pointed to the lobbying campaign on LGBTQ lawmakers, including Rep. Ritchie Torres, DN.Y., and Rep. Mondaire Jones, DN.Y. — assigned to the Biden administration this year to expedite vaccine distribution amid the monkeypox outbreak, which has disproportionately affected gay and bisexual men.
Within the record-breaking election year for LGBTQ candidates, dozens of them will also have the opportunity to make history on your own.
In particular, the Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate maura healeyDemocrat and candidate for Governor of Oregon, From Kotek, also a Democrat, are competing to become the country’s first lesbian governors. Polls predict Healey will have a smooth ride to victory, but a third-party candidate in the Oregon race may complicate Kotek’s chances.
If Vermont voters elect Becca Balint, a lesbian, to the US House of Representatives, she will be the first woman and the first LGBTQ person the state has sent to Congress.
As gender identity and gender-affirming attention have taken center stage in the nation’s policy debates on LGBTQ issues, the Victory Fund report also found that transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming candidates they ran for office in record numbers this year. The group represents 13.9% of this year’s LGBTQ primary and general election candidates, up from 7.9% in 2020 and 9.1% in 2018.
“Standing on the sidelines is not an option when our rights are on the block,” Parker said.