LGBTQ Community Makes its Mark in 2022 Elections

Image Commercially Licensed from: Depositphotos
Image Commercially Licensed from: Depositphotos

The 2022 midterm elections served as a watershed moment for the LGBTQ community, with numerous members running and winning seats.

According to a recent tally, about 340 LGBTQ candidates won their respective contests, breaking the 2020 record of 336 victories. Meanwhile, over 678 openly LGBTQ candidates sought office, the most in a US general election. The many non-binary candidates who ran sent a good ripple around the country. Victory Fund, a support group for the LGBTQ community, expressed its joy at the high level of political representation.

Established in 1991, Victory Fund pledged its support to LGBTQ candidates running for public office. The group uses its resources to teach candidates in campaigning and connect them with a massive network.

This allows them to shape their image and learn from elected LGBTQ candidates. According to Sean Meloy, the company’s Vice President of Political Programs, the group financed and backed over 500 candidates in the 2022 elections.

“Normally, when someone gets in [office], they don’t pull the ladder up after. Instead, they’re going to say, ‘Hey, who’s next? Who’s going to take over for me? Who else can I get to join me?’ So I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have more LGBTQ candidates running than ever at the same time we have the most LGBTQ people in the office,” he said.

“People of color, trans people and nonbinary people. And in places where we need those voices, the mere fact that an LGBTQ person steps forward to run – and then hopefully win – helps change hearts and minds,” Meloy added.

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LGBTQ community creating changes

During the midterm elections, the neighborhood experienced several firsts. For example, Tina Kotek of Oregon and Maura Healey of Massachusetts won. They will now act as the country’s first openly lesbian candidates.

For the first time in US history, Connecticut chose a Black LGBTQ person to a state legislature. Meanwhile, James Roesener became the first transgender person elected to the state legislature in New Hampshire. Zooey Sephyr also becomes the first openly transgender person winning a seat in the state legislature.

“I always hesitate to call an election historic, because the attacks on human rights, education, healthcare, public lands, unions, etc. feel perpetual. However, every election requires our attention because there is always something important worth fighting for, and if we fail to fight to our fullest, there are always groups waiting to strip our rights away,” Sephyr said.

“I think, given how attacks on LGBTQ people have ramped up over the last year has served as a reminder that LGBTQ people need to be in the room where the laws are being written. For example, 300+ anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation were introduced last year, over half of which targeted trans people specifically,” she added.

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A better outlook

Victory Fund went on to say that the struggle is far from done. For example, the United States requires around 35,000 additional LGBTQ officials to achieve equal participation in the political scene. On the other hand, Meloy holds out hope about this potential, pointing out that more Millenials and GenZs identify as community members.

“I think it shows that it’s possible, right? And so many underrepresented people in government – women, young people, people of color, LGBTQ people, disabled people – they’re always told, ‘Oh, you can’t do it […] because it hasn’t been done. So breaking that barrier makes that argument – ‘No.’ Which is a huge starting point,” he said.


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