Number of elected LGBTQ+ politicians in the US passes important milestone

Number of LGBTQ+ elected officials in US has doubled since 2017, report finds

Over 1,000 LGBTQ+ people are serving as elected politicians in the United States for the first time, according to a new study.

The LGBTQ Victory Institute published its annual Out for America Report on 18 August, covering the proportion of out, queer political representatives in the US.

It found that the number of LGBTQ+ politicians grew by nearly six per cent last year, and has more than double from 448 in 2017 to 1,043 in 2022.

“For the first time since we started publishing our annual Out for America Report, we’ve identified over 1,000 LGBTQ people who are serving in elected office,” The group said on Twitter.

“Despite the milestone, this is a huge underrepresentation.”

It added that LGBTQ+ elected officials make up just 0.2 per cent of politicians in America, while the number of LGBTQ+ people in the total population makes up an estimated 7.1 per cent.

To reach an accurate representation, the report found that the US would have to elect 35,854 more LGBTQ+ politicians, including 27 more LGBTQ+ members of Congress.

The upcoming midterm election, due to be held on 8 November, could bring even more queer representation to US politics.

Among the out LGBTQ+ candidates is Leigh Finke, who is running for a seat in the Minnesota House and could become the first out trans person in the state’s legislature.

Her bid has been marred with online hate, however, with the politician posting on Saturday (20 August) that she had been sent online hate mail containing a number of slurs.

“Just know their hate is my motivation,” she told her Twitter followers.

“I don’t post the hate often but I do think it’s important for folks to see it from time to time.”

As well as candidates being forced to deal with transphobic and homophobic hate, a study in August 2021 found that bias shows up in the polls, with LGBTQ+ election candidates getting consistently lower numbers.

“Compared to their straight counterparts, gay candidates face penalties of 6.7 percentage points in the US, 4.6 in the UK and 3.3 in New Zealand,” the authors, who were published in The Journal of Politics, wrote.

Mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, added: “Despite the fact the LGBTQ community has never had equitable representation in government – and we still have a long way to go – there are clear signs of progress.

“LGBTQ elected officials represent the strength and diversity of not only who we are as a society now, but also the America we aspire to build for future generations.”