2020 election is a ‘seismic’ shift for LGBT+ representation in politics

The first transgender state senator has been elected while the first black and Afro-latino candidates who identify as LGBT+ have won US congressional seats 

Daisy Lester
Wednesday 04 November 2020 17:38 GMT
2020 election results

As the US election results pour in, the LGBT+ community is celebrating a significant milestone in the political landscape.

In Delaware, Sarah McBride was elected to the state senate, becoming the first transgender state senator in US history.

Though there are several transgender politicians in the US, no transgender candidate has previously held federal or statewide office.

McBride, who is also National Press Secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, has played an important role in fighting for discrimination protections in Delaware and has lobbied for the equality act to extent these protections across the US.

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Nick Duffy, current affairs editor at Pink News, a newspaper marketed to the LGBT+ community, tweeted that a “seismic shift" was underway.

Duffy praised McBride as a “fearless and passionate advocate for LGBT+ equality.”

Meanwhile in New York, Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres have become the first Black and Afro-latino members of congress who identify as LGBT+.

Both Democrats, they claimed comfortable victories in the reliable blue state. Mr Jones previously worked in the Department of Justice during the Obama administration. 

Out of the seven LGBT+ politicians currently serving in congress, the only other person of colour is Sharice Davids, a Native American of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Elsewhere, Mauree Turner has become the first non-binary individual elected to state legislature in the US after winning a seat in Oklahoma City. 

Speaking to The Huffington Post ahead of the election, the 27-year-old lawmaker said: “I’m black, Muslim, femme, queer, born and raised in Oklahoma – politics was the last thing in my crosshairs.”

Also making history, Torrey Harris and Eddie Mannis have become the first LGBT+ people elected in Tennessee. Their admission into the state house of representatives means only three states remain where LGBT+ lawmakers have not held positions.

In Colorado, Brianna Titone was re-elected following a Republican waged, transphobic campaign against the lawmaker. 

Titone overcame hateful ads to maintain her position, and groups supporting her have worked to remove a number of the targeted ads on Facebook that referred to her as a man and used her birth name.

This Election Day has also seen the admission of Stephanie Byers, the first Native American transgender person to sit in the Kansas state legislature.

Voter turnout, among other factors including the coronavirus pandemic and a president who has said he may not accept the election results, has made the 2020 election unprecedented. 

And, in exit polls, LGBT+ voters make up seven per cent of the electorate, with 61 pr cent in support of Democratic nominee Joe Biden. In a poll ahead of the election, many LGBT+ individuals said they were feeling more motivated than ever before to vote this year, according to the LGBT+ organisation GLAAD.

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