If he can manage to do what no other has done before and become San Francisco’s first gay mayor, he will be making history for the third time. He was the first openly gay man in the state Senate, and, along with John Laird, who is now the state’s secretary for natural resources, the first openly gay man in the California State Assembly.
Leno is a political force with which to be reckoned, meaning that even if the race will be a tough fight, he won’t be taken lightly by his opponents. He is regularly described as being widely liked, even by his political rivals.
Leno hopes to succeed where they fell short, despite strong efforts.
San Francisco’s most famous gay politician, Harvey Milk, also known as the “mayor of Castro Street,” was cut down in his prime, murdered at 48, during the first year of his promising political career. Milk, as the first openly gay person elected to public office in California, showed the societal import of one of our own taking office.
Milk, like Obama after him, knew that you “gotta give ’em hope.”
While the laws in San Francisco are not regressive against the LGBTQ community, that does not mean that there isn’t still immense value in having us visible in the highest offices, both to inspire others to run, and to better represent our interests to our allies in power.
“Nothing about us without us,” as the saying goes.
The election of Leno would also be notable nationwide, showing that even in a time of increasingly right-wing politics nationally, LGBTQ history is still being made.
These are issues well understood by groups like Run for Something that encourage women and minorities to run for elected office. The group recently got a boon of national attention and economic backing when Hillary Clinton announced her initiative, Onward Together, to provide support to five progressive organizations, including Run for Something.
Making matters even more interesting, one possible contender is Kara Swisher, a lesbian and the co-founder of tech site Re/code. Swisher said last year she would enter the 2023 mayoral race, but in March let on that she could run sooner, reports the Bay Area Reporter.