LGBTQ Candidates Won Big in Tuesday’s Election. Even in Deep Red States.


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By Giselle Balido

November 6, 2020

These LGBTQ landmark wins across the nation included the first transgender person to be elected to the Senate.

LGBTQ candidates achieved historic victories across the nation in Tuesday’s election, including the first transgender person elected to a state Senate and the first openly gay Black men to win seats in Congress.

What adds a new, vibrant color to the equality rainbow is the fact that these victories were won not only in more progressive blue states, but in traditionally deep red states as well.

“For too long, particularly LGBTQ people of color have been pushed to the sidelines and stripped of our voice,” said Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign president, in a statement. “But today we reclaim our power and declare ourselves not only worthy but indeed required representatives in the halls of Congress. Today, LGBTQ youth across the country will see themselves reflected in a diverse array of new representatives and know that they can achieve anything.”

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This holds true in Tennessee, where Democrat Torrey Harris, who identifies as bisexual, and Republican Eddie Mannis, who is gay, become the first openly LGBTQ members in the state House after winning seats in that legislature.

“Torrey and Eddie sent a clear message that LGBTQ candidates can win in a deep red state while being their authentic selves,” said the LGBTQ Victory Fund’s president, former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, in a statement, and added that their presence in the state legislature can help attenuate anti-LGBTQ voices “and lead to more inclusive legislation.”

Historic Wins Across the Nation

Two Democrats made history as the first gay Black men elected to the US House. Attorney Mondaire Jones won in a district of New York City, while Ritchie Torres, who identifies as Afro Latino and is a member of the New York City Council, won in The Bronx.

In Delaware, Democrat Sarah McBride won her state Senate race with more than 70% of the vote, becoming the first openly transgender state senator in the country. As her victory was confirmed Tuesday night, she expressed her hope that her win will help open minds, and that her newfound visibility will serve to empower LGBTQ people across the nation.

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“It is my hope that a young LGBTQ kid here in Delaware, or really anywhere in this country, can look at the results and know that our democracy is big enough for them, too,” she said.

Democrats Taylor Small in Vermont and Stephanie Byers in Kansas became the first openly transgender people to win seats in their states’ Houses. 

In Georgia, another Democrat, Kim Jackson, a lesbian social justice advocate, became the first LGBTQ person to win a seat in the state Senate. Shevrin Jones, a gay former state representative, did the same in Florida’s Senate.

Jabari Brisport, a gay math teacher, became the first openly LGBTQ person of color elected to the legislature in New York, while Oklahoma’s Mauree Turner, a Democrat who is Black, Muslim, and identifies as nonbinary, won a seat in the state House.

Only Alaska, Louisiana, and Mississippi have never elected an LGBTQ legislator, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.




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