More Than 1,000 LGBTQ Candidates are Running for Office. Who Will Win?

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday October 20, 2020

More Than 1,000 LGBTQ Candidates are Running for Office. Who Will Win?
  (Source:Getty Images)

Today the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a national organization specifically dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, released its inaugural report, Out on the Trail, detailing both the progress made and the work that lies ahead for greater LGBTQ political representation.

The report's findings demonstrate an increasingly diverse swathe of LGBTQ candidates running for office this year. Approximately 1,006 openly LGBTQ people either ran or are running for office, a 41 percent increase since the 2018 midterms, which the Fund describes as "a historic number." According to the report, the 2020 LGBTQ candidates represent a significantly more racially and ethnically diverse cross-section than, as the Fund says, "the overall U.S. candidate population and that more bisexual and queer candidates are stepping up to run than ever before." The report also details each state's LGBTQ candidates.

Some of the notable and positive key findings include a 33 percent increase since 2018 of LGBTQ candidates (574 total) appearing on the upcoming general election ballot, with 31 percent of those candidates identifying as people of color — such as Georgette Gómez, a San Diego District 9 City Councilmember who, if she wins next month, could become the first queer Latina in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Fund's study also finds that among LGBTQ candidates, while men of color are finding greater representation, women of color are not. Also, as the number of transgender candidates dropped from 2018, genderqueer, non-binary, and gender non-conforming candidates increased from six to 25. And while there was an increase in bisexual and queer candidates, the proportion of lesbian candidates this year dropped. However, as EDGE previously reported, LPAC found that LBTQ women could be the driving force behind progressive voting this year — primarily because of Hillary Clinton's electoral college loss in 2016, but also because of how these LGBTQ women are finding increasing representation among this year's candidates.

The report also shows no known LGBTQ candidates in Alabama, while California, Texas, and Florida ran the greatest number of LGBTQ candidates this year. As the Fund states, the candidates they endorsed "are slightly more diverse than the overall LGBTQ candidate population in 2020."

"A historic number of openly LGBTQ people are running for office this year and we have the opportunity to elect an unprecedented number on Election Day," said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. "While LGBTQ candidates are significantly more diverse than U.S. candidates overall, we must continue to break down the barriers LGBTQ people of color, women and trans people face when considering a run for office. Our government must reflect the diversity of America."

The Fund's push for a vast LGBTQ sweep at the polls would signal a pushback against the Trump administration's continued rolling back of LGBTQ rights and protections acquired under the Obama administration. "A lot of LGBTQ people have been paying attention because they've been affected by the negative actions of the Trump-Pence administration... coupled with the authoritarian and hyper-conservative policies that have been implemented," says Sean Meloy, the Fund's senior political director. "Now that it's October, people are even more attentive, and LGBTQ voters, in particular, should find motivation to vote in their own best interests."

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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