On November 8th, Kate Brown became the first ever openly LGBTQ person to be elected governor.
Governor of Oregon, Kate Brown, who openly identifies as bisexual, previously held the position after stepping in for former Governor John Kitzhaber who resigned following an influence-peddling scandal in 2015, according to NPR. This, however, was the first time she ran in an election for the position.
Brown voiced her commitment to fighting against discrimination after her win, tweeting “25 years ago, I chose a life of public service because I wanted to be a voice for the voiceless… I vowed I would do everything I could to make sure no one has to face discrimination or live in fear.”
This historical win comes at a time when many LGBTQ individuals are fearful of losing their rights to express themselves freely without violence or hate. While many are uncertain of what is to come for the LGBTQ community, this year brought record-breaking numbers of LGBTQ candidates running for the U.S. House, Senate, State House Seats and other statewide and local government positions, 191 candidates in total.
Among those who ran, LGBTQ incumbents Sean Patrick Maloney (NY), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Mark Pocan (WI), Mark Takano (CA), David Cicilline (RI), and Jared Polis of (CO) were reelected in the U.S. House. Other wins for LGBTQ representation include the election of the first black LGBTQ state representative in Colorado, Leslie Herod, and Florida now has two openly gay legislators, Carlos Guillermo Smith and incumbent David Richardson.
In her own words, Kate Brown spoke to the importance of representation, “”You can’t be what you can’t see…If I can be a role model for one young person that decides that their life is worth living because there’s someone like them in the world, it’s worth it.”