A week after the midterm election, Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner of the Arizona Senate election, making her the first openly bisexual person elected to Congress and Arizona’s first female Senator. After Tuesday’s election, the total number of LGBTQ+ members of Congress is now eleven, the first time that the number has reached double digits.
Kyrsten Sinema is now the second LGBTQ+ U.S. Senator. Tammy Baldwin, a Senator from Wisconsin, was the first openly LGBTQ+ Senator and last Tuesday she won her election for a second term as well. She tweeted Tuesday that she was “very happy to say [she is] no longer the *only* open LGBTQ U.S. Senator.”
Sharice Davis and Jared Polis were also elected on the historic night for LGBTQ candidates. Sharice Davis is an openly lesbian Native American woman elected to Congress from Kansas. Davis is also one of the first Native American women elected to Congress. Jared Polis is the first openly gay governor in the United States and was elected in Colorado. Colorado was once known as the “hate state” because of a 1992 law that legalized discrimination against the LGBTQ community, but is now the first state to have an openly gay governor. Gina Ortiz Jones is a member of the LGBTQ community and if she wins her race in Texas then she will become the first LGBTQ person elected in Texas.
Elliot Imse of the LGBTQ Victory Fund said that, “the high profile wins in Arizona, Kansas, and Wisconsin this cycle make clear that an LGBTQ candidate who listens to voters and prioritizes their issues can win elected office anywhere – blue state or red state. This is a significant evolution in American politics.”
Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign, said that the election of LGBTQ candidates was a rejection of recent Trump administration policies targeting LGBTQ rights. Griffin stated that, “the days of attacking LGBTQ people for political gain are over, and the American people will not stand for lawmakers who try to drum up votes by trafficking hate.”
The election of LGBTQ candidates comes after it was recently revealed that the Trump administration is planning to establish under Title IX a strict definition of sex as unchangeable and assigned at birth based on genitalia. Under their plan, any dispute would require a person to undergo genetic testing. This rule would disregard the lives of 1.4 million Americans who currently identify themselves with a sex that does not match that of their birth certificate.
Media Resources: The Washington Post 11/13/2018; Feminist Newswire 10/22/18