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Inside Beat

Several newly elected LGBTQ+ politicians you need to know

Mauree Turner is making history. They are the first non-binary, Muslim Black person elected, making huge strides in their district in Oklahoma.  – Photo by TIME / Twitter

The future for LGBTQ+ representation in politics is looking brighter than ever! The rainbow flag has never before flown higher than in this 2020 election.

The LGBTQ+ community can finally see themselves represented during important governmental decisions for the next few years due to the most diverse election yet. It welcomed in 160 LGBTQ+ elected political officials at the local and state levels. Here are some of them: 

Adrian Tam

Tam has become Hawaii’s only openly-LGBTQ+ elected official in the state legislature. He won over Republican candidate Nicholas Ochs, founder of an anti-LGBTQ+ and neo-nazi group, with a 67.9 percent lead in Hawaii’s 22nd Congressional District.

“The challenges we face, though sometimes very difficult, are never insurmountable if we face them together. I will always work hard for you and with you. I will always fight hard for you and with you. I will always stand up for you and with you,” said Tam.

Mondaire Jones

Jones is one of the first gay Black men to be elected to the House of Representatives. He won New York’s 17th Congressional District over Republican candidate Maureen McArdle Schulman.

“Growing up poor, Black and gay, I never imagined someone like me could run for Congress, let alone win,” Jones said, according to The New York Times. “Indeed, in the 244-year history of the United States, there has never been an openly gay, Black member of Congress. That changes this year.”

Ana Irma Rivera Lassén

Lassén will be the first lesbian to be elected as a Senator for Accumulation in Puerto Rico. She’s the president of the Movimiento Victoria Ciudadana, an anti-colonial party founded in 2019. Lassén is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Network of Afro-Latin American, Afro-Caribbean and Diaspora Women. 

“What it means is that I am an openly (LGBTQ+) person and obviously Black woman. This is evidence of the need to recognize the intersections and the complexity of the discrimination that some of us may face,” Rivera Lassén said, according to Democracy Now! “I’ve received messages of joy from many people, women, Afro-descendants, (LGBTQ+) people, people from many communities in Puerto Rico, who are conscious of making a Puerto Rico that is more inclusive.”

Sarah McBride

After this election, McBride became the first transgender state senator in the United States. Additionally, she will be the first transgender person to hold political office in Delaware. McBride works as the national press secretary for the Human Rights Campaign and was the first transgender person to speak at a political party convention. 

“As a newly elected state senator, it is now my job to stand in that chamber and to fight for opportunity and dignity for every single one of my neighbors. I do so with the hope and knowledge that change is possible because I’ve seen it, I’ve fought it and I’ve lived it,” said McBride.

Mauree Turner

Turner, a Black queer non-binary Muslim, was elected in Oklahoma’s 88th congressional district. They became the first nonbinary legislator in America and the first Muslim in the Oklahoma state Legislature. 

“I decided that I would listen to my community and listen to the advice I was giving everyone else about why it’s important to see ourselves in our representation,” Turner said, according to The Washington Post. “There are some things that White, cishet men will never be able to understand or truly advocate for in a way that someone who is gender-diverse, who is queer, who has had to worry where their next paycheck is coming from.”

Taylor Small

Small will be the first transgender person to serve in the state Legislature in Vermont. She works at the Pride Center of Vermont as the director of the health and wellness program. Small is well known for giving children reading sessions as her drag persona Nikki Champagne. 

“I’m not doing it for myself,” Small said, according to The Burlington Free Press. “It’s about being community-centered.”

Ritchie Torres

Torres became the first gay Black and Latinx to serve in Congress. He’s also the first LGBTQ+ and youngest elected official to represent the Bronx in the New York City Council. 

“I hope that I can embody a simple truth, that who you are should never be a limit on how far you can go and how high you can rise in politics,” Torres said, according to NBC News. “I hope I stand as an inspirational example of what’s possible in America.”

Stephanie Byers

Byers is the first transgender Native American to be elected as a legislator in the Kansas House of Representatives. The retired teacher also served as the Communications Director of Wichita Pride, the organization that hosts Wichita’s LGBTQ+ events. 

“If Kansas, the big red Republican state, can elect a transgender person to a state legislator, the doors open up in a lot of other places for people," Byers said, according to The Wichita Eagle.


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