Every state in the US except for one has an LGBT+ official

‘There are more trans elected officials than there are out Republican elected officials,’ former Houston mayor says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Wednesday 28 July 2021 22:56

Related video: Biden condemns wave of anti-LGBT+ legislation during Pride event

Mississippi is the only state in the US that does not have at least one openly LGBT+ elected official, with the total number across the country closing in on 1,000.

The number of LGBT+ elected officials have grown about 17 per cent since last year and the total number is more than double that of four years ago, with most being Democrats who were motivated to run for office by the presidency of Donald Trump.

The data comes from the 2021 annual Out for America report by the LGBTQ Victory Institute, which also coaches candidates running for office. Two of America’s 50 governors are now members of the LGBT+ community, two are US senators, and nine are members of the House. Among state legislators, 189 are LGBT+, as are 56 of the country’s mayors.

In total, there are 986 LGBT+ elected officials in the US today, according to the report. This is the fifth year that the survey has been conducted. Out of around half a million elected offices, 448 were held by LGBT+ individuals in 2017, 698 in 2019, 843 in 2020, and 986 in 2021.

Annise Parker, the institute’s president and chief executive, told The New York Times: “There are more LGBTQ folks who are taking the plunge and deciding to run for office.”

Ms Parker was the first openly gay mayor of a major US city, serving as the mayor of Houston, Texas, from 2010 to 2016.

Out of all racial groups, Black LGBT+ officials grew the most last year, increasing by 75 per cent. Multiracial officials who are LGBT+ grew by 40 per cent over the last year.

The LGTQ Victory Institute keeps track of officeholders on the federal and statewide level, as well as state legislators, and municipal and judicial officials.

Ms Parker said LGBT+ people can now be elected anywhere in the country, but that bias and discrimination still remain an issue, especially against transgender candidates.

The partisan divide is stark, 73 per cent of LGBT+ officials are Democrats, and three per cent are Republicans.

As of this year, 23 states have at least one transgender official, the report says. The growth of trans officials over the last year occurred exclusively on the women’s side with officials who are transgender women going from 21 to 36, with the number of transgender men in office stood still at five.

City Halls across the country is one of the venues with the best LGBT+ representation, with six of the country 100 largest cities having LGBT+ mayors. The largest city with an LGBT+ mayor is Chicago, where Lori Lightfoot is in charge.

But despite the growth in LGBT+ representation, the institute still estimates that only 0.19 per cent of elected officials in the US are LGBT+, despite that they make up around 5.6 per cent of the population.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments