It may be days before official results for the presidential election, we are already seeing big LGBTQ+ representation in the 2020 election.
More LGBTQ+ candidates appeared on ballots across the country than ever before, according to a new report from the LGBTQ Victory Fund. The organization that trains, supports, and advocates for queer candidates, says 1,0006 candidates identifying as LGBTQ+ battled for chairs in their states.
Meet some of the elected officials who will help fight for change and unity in your state.
Sarah McBride, a 30-year-old LGBTQ+ activist will be the country’s first openly transgender state senator. The Deleware- native is also the highest-ranking openly transgender lawmaker in the country.
McBride is no stranger to breaking barriers. In 2012, McBride interned with the Obama administration and became the first openly transgender person to work at the White House, according to The New York Times.
She defeated her Republican opponent, Steven Washington, 73% to 27%.
McBride tweeted Tuesday night, “I hope tonight shows an LGBTQ kid that our democracy is big enough for them, too.”
The “Sunshine State” made history by electing two Black queer politicians, Shevrin Jones and Michele Rayner-Goolsby, to serve in the state legislature.
Jones became the first out LGBT+ person ever elected to the state senate, claiming victory in his race in Miami-Dade’s safely Democratic 35th district.
Since 2012, Jones has served in the statehouse of representatives. In 2018, he came out as gay after the death of his older brother. He has since become a powerful voice for LGBTQ+ rights in Florida.
Self-described “unapologetic” Black queer woman, Michele Rayner- Goolsby became the first LGBTQ+ woman to serve in the Florida house of representatives. She did not face an opponent in the general election after her triumph in a competitive Democratic primary.
Michele has quickly become an emerging voice on the issues of criminal justice reform, education, health, and economic disparities, and race and gender issues both locally and nationally.
“Our team was led by a Black woman. It was anchored by women and women of colour. We won because we defined ourselves for ourselves. Brb- I’m crying now,” Rayner-Goolsby said in a statement.
Kim Jackson, a lesbian Episcopal priest and social justice advocate became the first openly queer member of Georgia’s State Senate. She promises to fight for public education, criminal justice reform, ending the death penalty, and of course, LGBTQ+ equality.
The LGBTQ+ Victory Fund tweeted on Tuesday: “There has never been an openly LGBTQ State Senator in Georgia, and it shows by the bigoted bills they’ve passed. Our Spotlight Candidate Kim Jackson’s win tonight changes that. Congratulations on your victory, @KimforGeorgia!”
Jackson will represent District 41.
Adrian Tam, who upset a 14-year incumbent in the August Democratic primary for the state House of Representatives – defeated Republican Nicholas Ochs, making him Hawaii’s openly LGBTQ+ elected official.
Stephanie Byers’ victory Tuesday night makes her the first openly transgender person ever elected to the Kansas statehouse and the first openly trans person of color ever elected to a state legislature in the U.S.
New York made double history with two Democrats in the new class of U.S. House members.
Westchester attorney Mondaire Jones, 33, and City Councilmember Ritchie Torres, 32, and will be the first openly gay Black men in Congress. Torres is also Afro-Latino and has spoken about suffering from depression as a college student when he was coming out.
Torres, who won his race for the 15th Congressional District in the South Bronx is also the first openly queer Afro-Latino to serve in Congress.
Both of these men, who ran on progressive platforms that would help their communities, are also serving as great examples for other young people too.
Harris, who is bisexual, won his race to represent District 90 in Tennessee’s State House.
He has lived in Memphis since 2011, working in human resources and serving as a board member for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Friends for Life Corporation HIV/AIDS Care & Prevention Services, and other progressive groups.
“I hope to be someone that you look to as a real representative. Somebody who will listen, empower, not just some but all Tennesseans in all the state,” said Harris.
Mannis, who is a Republican, defeated his opponent Virginia Couch for Tennessee State House District 18.
“I’m excited for things to come, I’m excited for what we can do for District 18. I’m excited to have gone through this process with all of you,” said Mannis.
Small but mighty, Vermont elected its first transgender state legislator, 26-year-old Taylor Small.
Some may know Small from her drag persona, Nikki Champagne, who performs drag shows with Emoji Nightmare. The duo has also led Drag Queen Story Hours in libraries across the state.
“People forget about all the activism queens do in the community,” Champagne told the Burlington Free Press in 2017 after a Drag Queen Story Hour at Fletcher Free Library in Burlington.
She said Drag Queen Story Hour shows “that we’re more than those dive-bar queens who lip sync to songs.”
The 2020 election is historic for many reasons but one of them is the amount of LGBTQ+ representation.
*Story will update as more candidate become apparent