There have been a lot of LGBT politicians in the U.S., but the number is still not high enough. Some had more success than the others, and it seems that the number is only rising. But who are the LGBT members in the U.S. Congress? Who are the LGBT members in the U.S. Senate? Let’s take a look at the rainbow wave and how the tides have changed in the past couple of years.
The First Out of the Closet
The Pink or Lavender Vote is a term used to describe votes and voting rights of the LGBTQ+ community. As people have become freer in the past couple of years, there have been more politicians willing to get out of the closet. The first openly gay person elected to public office was Kathy Kozachenko.
It happened in 1974, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Kathy managed to pave the way for future generations and make an important change for the LGBTQ people. Fortunately, she wasn’t the only one. A couple of years later, Harvey Milk became the first gay elected official in California. Milk quickly became a martyr in the gay community. Even though his time in the office was short, he managed to change many things.
In the next couple of decades, more and more gay people were willing to get into politics and pursue this career. Since then, there have been numerous gay and transgender mayors, even in big cities like Chicago, Hartford, and others.
There is no doubt that Kathy Kozachenko and Harvey Milk managed to impact the entire country and make the necessary change in the seventies. Today, there are many other LGBTQ candidates. It won’t be long before one person gets out of the closet and into the Oval Office.
If we take a look at the U.S today, we can see that there are more gay politicians than ever. That shows us how much the entire country has evolved. We have more than eight hundred lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people in the office across the U.S. And if you believe that the number is still too low, you should know that it is a 21% increase in comparison with the last year.
There are also 35% more LGBTQ+ mayors, and the number seems to be rising. According to LGBTQ Victory Institute, there has been a surge in wins during the last two years. They hope that the winning streak will continue this year as well, ensuring more LGBTQ representatives in the office.
Roughly 5% of the adults in the United States identify as LGBTQ members. But, only 0.17% of nearly half a million officials are known as members of the LGBTQ community. Therefore, we can see that the numbers are still low. The statistics show that there will need to be nearly twenty-three thousand more LGBTQ people in the office to achieve equitable representation.
While there is no doubt that the increase in numbers in the past couple of years is incredible, it is just one step of the process. And everyone needs to continue pushing if we hope to achieve equal rights and representation for everyone.
Most Notable Runs
Finally, let’s take a look at some of the most notable runs for the LGBTQ community. Of course, we already mentioned Kathy Kozachenko and Harvey Milk, as well as their incredible achievements. Recently there have been a lot of important firsts, which are both sad and inspiring. It’s sad because it hasn’t happened sooner, but as they say, it’s better late than never.
Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones will become the first gay black members of Congress. It seems that the entire country came a long way since Tammy Baldwin. As you might remember, Tammy Baldwin was the first LGBT woman elected for the House of Representatives in 1999 and to the Senate in 2013.
Today, there are ten openly LGBTQ+ members of Congress. All of them are Democrats. While the majority of the LGBTQ+ members are Democrats, it would be wrong to assume that all of them are. Robert Bauman, for example, was one of the first openly gay members of the House of Representatives, and he was from the Republican party.
Finally, we should mention Fred Karger, the first openly gay presidential candidate in a major political party in the history of the U.S. We can only hope that the numbers will continue to grow and that there will be more people from the LGBTQ+ community in politics. If Torres and Jones are a sign of what is to come, we can hope that the future will be at least a bit brighter than it was before.