LGBTQ rights wins and losses on election night highlight ongoing battle

Various candidates running on anti-LGBTQ platforms they won their races in the 2022 midterm elections, as the curtailment of LGBTQ rights became a key issue this election cycle for Conservatives.

But the night also saw victories for openly LGBTQ candidates in various races across the country.

Many of the incumbents who have led the charge for anti-LGBTQ legislation, including Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, have been reappointed to their posts. .

PHOTO: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a rally ahead of the midterm elections, in Hialeah, Florida on November 7, 2022.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a rally ahead of the midterm elections, in Hialeah, Florida on November 7, 2022.

Marco Bello/Reuters

“We reject the ideology of the awakening,” DeSantis said in his election night speech. “We will never surrender to the awakening agenda. People have come here because of our policies.”

In Stitt’s victory speech, he referenced some of his recent legislation, including a ban on non-binary gender markers, a ban on trans youth participating in sports teams that align with their gender identity, and restrictions on discussions about race and gender in public school classrooms.

“We will respect the rights of parents and protect their voice in the education of their children in our state. We are going to focus on teaching the kids and not on indoctrinating them,” Stitt said.

More than 300 bills have been introduced in the past year that target access to gender-affirming care, queer identity in schools, and other areas that affect LGBTQ people in education, health care, and sports, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

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More than $50 million was spent on LGBTQ bashing ads in 25 states in the final days before the election, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

However, anti-LGBTQ messages didn’t work for some candidates who lost their races, including candidates who expressed such views, including Republican Michigan gubernatorial candidate Tudor Dixon, Pennsylvania Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano.

“That was a failed strategy, trying to create more hate and division and other trans people and dehumanizing them with these attack ads was not only despicable, but voters saw it,” said Geoff Wetrosky, HRC’s national campaign manager.

In contrast to the rising rhetoric against LGBTQ rights from conservatives, this election cycle was historic for the LGBTQ community. A record number of openly LGBTQ candidates ran for office and were elected across the country.

Democratic Attorney General Maura Healey, a candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, speaks during a Democratic Election Night party, Nov. 8, 2022, in Boston.

Michael Dwyer/AP

Activists told ABC News that the wave of victories acts as a breath of hope for LGBTQ equality in the US. At least 340 openly LGBTQ candidates running in the midterms have won state and US seats so far, according to political advocacy group LGBTQ Victory Fund.

“We know that when youth, LGBTQ people, and people of color go to the polls and oppose repressive and regressive candidates and policies, we win victories like we’ve seen in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Vermont. said Kierra Johnson, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.

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The LGBTQ community saw victories representingwith queer-identifying candidates running for public office in all 50 states, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

PHOTO: Tina Kotek, Democratic candidate for Governor of Oregon, waves to supporters at the Oregon Democratic Party election party in Portland, Oregon on November 8, 2022.

Democratic candidate for Governor of Oregon, Tina Kotek, greets supporters at the Oregon Democratic Party election party in Portland, Oregon on November 8, 2022.

Beth Nakamura/The Oregonian via AP

Maura Healey of Massachusetts and Tina Kotek of Oregon were elected the first openly lesbian governors in US history. Several states have seen their first elected officials openly transgender, gay, lesbian, and nonbinary.

“Tonight, I want to say something to all little girls and to all LGBTQ youth: I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever, whoever you want to be,” Healey said in her victory speech Tuesday.