The LGBTQ community scored a massive victory during the 2021 elections. With epic wins all over the nation, the tally now stands at over 1,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer voices in US government. Read on for the full story.
LGBTQ Officials Score Massive Victory in 2021 Elections
Op-Ed: The 2021 elections may not have made a huge impact in Washington itself (2022 midterms decide who holds control of the House and Senate). However, as we’ve learned more and more during the last few years, it’s often those smaller seats within cities, towns, and counties that make the largest impact on in day-to-day life.
Once swearing-in finishes up, the United States will, for the first time ever, have over 1,000 LGBTQ officials on boards and in towns across the entire nation, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
This year saw at least 237 candidates on ballots, an 18.5% increase over the 2019 off-year election. Six of those ran and won in New York City, making it the largest group of LGBTQ officials ever representing a city.
The most surprising victories, however, came in places that are notoriously unfriendly towards same-sex couples and other LGBTQ citizens. Democrat Rebecca Maurer just unseated an incumbent of 16 years in Cleveland, making her the very first LGBTQ city council member in the history of the city.
Meanwhile in Detroit, Gabriela Santiago-Romero became the first Latinx LGBTQ person ever elected in Michigan. Perhaps most surprisingly, Montana elected its first Black LGBTQ official when Christopher Coburn won his bid for Bozeman City Commission.
Right here in my own state of Pennsylvania, Allegheny County said “yes” to the first non-binary official when they voted for Xander Orenstein to fill a judicial seat. Side note, we also claim bragging rights to the incredible Rachel Levine, who recently became the very first transgender 4-star officer.
Some groups still severely underrepresented in office, LGBTQ Victory Fund shows
While these victories are definitely something to celebrate, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, some groups still seriously lack voices in both large and small governments in the US. The overall pool of LGBTQ candidates who identify as people of color increased to 36% in 2021. However, LGBTQ women of color still remain “severely underrepresented,” making up just 4% of the overall candidate pool.
Also, although some states saw historical firsts, in many states LGBTQ candidates didn’t even make it on the ballot. These include Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, both of the Dakotas, and a few others. However, that doesn’t mean that there are no queer officials in those states. As of 2021, Mississippi remains the sole state to completely lack a single LGBTQ government official.
While there’s still a long way to go before LGBTQ officials have an equal voice in politics, each election year brings more and more victories, and that’s definitely something to celebrate!
Did your town elect a new LGBTQ candidate? Share your thoughts below.