US elections: Record-breaking number of LGBTQ+ politicians running in midterms

White House with a Progress Pride flag flying

There are more out LGBTQ+ politicians running in US elections than ever before.

According to the Victory Fund, which works to increase LGBTQ+ representation in US politics, 678 LGBTQ+ politicians are on the ballot for the November midterm elections, taking place on Tuesday (8 November). This is up from 574 in 2020,  an 18 per cent increase.

Across 2022, a total of 1065 LGBTQ+ candidates ran or are running for office, the highest number in history. A record-breaking 63.7 per cent of known LGBTQ+ candidates won their primaries.

Among LGBTQ+ candidates, there was historic representation of marginalised communities – 38.2 per cent were people of colour; and trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming people made up 13.9 per cent.

This year, LGBTQ+ candidates ran in every one of the 50 states, and in Washington DC, the first time this has happened.

Victory Fund President Annise Parker believes this creates the opportunity to “elect more LGBTQ people to office than ever before”.

She said: “Bigots want us to stay home and stay quiet, but their attacks are backfiring and instead have motivated a new wave of LGBTQ leaders to run for office.

“Sitting on the sidelines isn’t an option when our rights are on the chopping block.”

Among those running in the US midterm elections are Democrats Maura Healey and Tina Kotek, who are running to be governors of Massachusetts and Oregon respectively. They could become the first lesbian state governors in US history.

Becca Belint is running to become the first LGBTQ+ person and the first woman to occupy Vermont’s sole House seat.

In California, Democrat Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia is running to be the first LGTBQ+ immigrant elected to Congress in history. He’s running for California’s 42nd District.

Democrat Leigh Finke is running to be the first transgender state legislator in Minnesota, and Jillian Hanlon (also a Democrat) is running to become the first out transgender sheriff elected in the country.

The US elections come at a crucial time for LGBTQ+ rights in the US.
While the Democrats have the presidency, control the House and have the deciding vote in a divided Senate, Republicans in state legislatures have been pushing legislation to roll back trans rights, ban gender-affirming healthcare and ban LGBTQ+ topics from classrooms.

Polls predict that the Republicans could take control of the House, while the Senate is too close to call.

But if the GOP takes both houses, it could begin pushing its anti-LGBTQ+ agenda on a federal level.

Louisiana Republican Mike Johnson has already introduced a federal “Don’t Say Gay” bill in October that would ban public money from being used to teach children under 10 about “sexual orientation and gender identity” in the classrooms.

Aaron Ridings, chief of staff and deputy executive director for public policy and research of Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), told PinkNews that the group is seeing a “coordinated attack on basic civil rights across this country”.
Ridings urged LGBTQ+ voters to make their voices heard, saying: “The rise of fascism and white supremacy represents an extinction-level threat to our decades-long struggle for basic civil and education rights across the country.

It’s more important now than ever before to register and to vote.”

Ridings added: “The consequences of LGBTQ+ and allied communities not making their voices heard is an elimination of basic civil and education rights, and a fearful future and something that we’ve not known before.

“Instead, show up. We make our voices heard, and we keep moving towards our vision – a positive school transformation where LGBTQ+ youth can, at a minimum, be safe and ultimately thrive and reach their full potential.”