The 2022 midterms could turn out to be the most historic election ever for Black LGBTQ candidates.
While the current number of out LGBTQ elected officials remains far below what would constitute fair or proportional representation (only 0.2% of elected officials nationwide are LGBTQ), there remains an even greater disparity for Black LGBTQ representation.
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According to LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Out for America map, which shows known out LGBTQ elected officials at every level of government, there are currently just 101 Black out LGBTQ elected officials in the United States. 17 states have zero Black out LGBTQ elected officials: Alabama, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Utah and Vermont.
While there is a lot of work yet to be done, there is also tremendous hope – this midterm cycle, we have a historic number of Black LGBTQ candidates on the ballot.
Here are some of the most exciting candidates to keep an eye on this cycle.
As the first out LGBTQ person of color and one of the youngest members elected to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, Kenyatta has championed proposals to address generational poverty, workers’ rights and health care.
Now, he hopes to make history once again and become the first out LGBTQ person of color elected to the U.S. Senate.
Everton Blair Jr.
Blair is currently Chairman of the Gwinnett County Board of Education, Georgia’s largest school system. He is the son of Jamaican immigrants and taught in Georgia’s public schools before running for office.
He is currently running for Georgia State School Superintendent. If elected, Blair would be the first out LGBTQ person ever elected statewide in Georgia.
Herron is running in a special election for the Kentucky State House of Representatives. She would be the first out LGBTQ person ever elected to the Kentucky House.
Before deciding to run for public office, she was a policy strategist for the Kentucky ACLU. During her time at the ACLU, she successfully advocated for a variety of pieces of legislation, including achieving bipartisan passage of Breonna’s Law, which bans no-knock warrants in the city of Louisville.
Erin Maye Quade
Now running for the Minnesota state Senate, Maye Quade is a former Minnesota state Representative who was first elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2016. While there, her record as a social justice advocate grew after she held a 24-hour sit-in on the House floor to protest inaction on gun violence.
She would be the first out LGBTQ woman and first Black woman ever elected to the Minnesota state Senate.
Jones is currently the Founder and CEO of the Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network, an organization working to improve health, social and economic conditions impacting Black communities in the South. Given the sobering reality that Black Americans are still disproportionally impacted by HIV, Jones has been a long-time advocate for HIV prevention. In 2011, he was recognized by President Barack Obama for his HIV advocacy.
He is currently running for the Texas House of Representatives for District 100, which is located in Dallas and is a Black-majority community. Jones would be the first out LGBTQ Black man ever elected to the Texas legislature.
An experienced member of the Houston city council and the Houston independent school board, Jones is running for the Texas state House of Representatives. She’s an attorney who worked to reform the criminal justice system.
She will be the first out Black LGBTQ woman elected to the Texas legislature.
Spearman began her career with the U.S. Army, where she served for nearly three decades. In 2012, she ran for office and was elected to the Nevada state Senate representing Las Vegas. While in the Senate, she has held various leadership roles, including Chief Majority Whip, Chair for the Committee on Commerce and Labor, and Vice-Chair of the Committee on Health and Human Services.
Now, she’s running to be the next North Las Vegas Mayor. She would be the first out LGBTQ mayor of North Las Vegas, and one of the few Black out LGBTQ mayors in the country.
Mayfield is a seasoned activist with experience fighting to end racial bias and homophobia in Charlotte, North Carolina and nationally. In 2011, she was first elected to the Charlotte City Council. She is currently running for an at-large Charlotte City Council seat.
If elected, she would be the first out LGBTQ person ever elected citywide in Charlotte.
Civil rights and social justice attorney Michele Rayner made history in 2020 when she became the first out LGBTQ Black woman to be elected to the Florida legislature. Before joining the state legislature, she was a public defender in Hillsborough County.
Now, she is running for the U.S. House of Representatives. She would be the first out Black woman and first out LGBTQ member of Congress from Florida.
Simmons is currently running for reelection to the Illinois state Senate. During his tenure, he worked to pass a variety of pieces of legislation with a strong equity and equality lens, including the Jett Hawkins Act, which prohibits schools from discriminating against Black students based on their hair.
When he was appointed to the Senate in 2021, he became the first out gay state Senator in Illinois history, the first ever Black state Senator to represent the north lakefront, and the first Ethiopian-American to serve in either chamber of the Illinois General Assembly. If he wins this year, he will continue to be a strong voice for LGBTQ citizens in Illinois and nationally.
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to achieve and sustain equality by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government while ensuring they reflect the diversity of those they serve. Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped thousands of openly LGBTQ candidates win local, state and federal elections.