A record number of lesbian, gay,
bisexual or transgender candidates are running for office in
According to The New York Times,
more than 400 LGBT candidates are running for office this fall.
Roughly half of these candidates are running for state offices.
Annise Parker, CEO of the LGBTQ Victory
Fund, said that state representation is crucial to defeating
anti-LGBT laws. According to the Human Rights Campaign, more than
120 such bills were introduced across 30 states in 2017.
“We have seen a clear correlation
between the presence of our legislators and passage of that
legislation,” Parker told the Times.
The rainbow wave of candidates comes
after the Trump administration has made several attempts to roll back
protections for the community, including an attempt to ban
transgender people from serving openly in the military and the
Department of Justice's recent decision to create a task force on
so-called religious freedom, which is widely seen as an attempt to
discriminate against LGBT people.
Sessions announces “religious freedom” task force.)
High-profile candidates include Senator
Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who is seeking re-election; Colorado
Representative Jared Polis, who is running for governor of Colorado;
and Representative Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who is seeking the
Democratic nomination for the Senate.
The Times profiled several state
candidates, including Sharice Davis, a lesbian and a Native American
who will be on Tuesday's primary ballot.
“I am sure there are going to be
older people who are concerned about my being out or being a woman or
being a pro-choice candidate or something,” said Davis, a House
candidate from Kansas. “But I wouldn't be running if I thought
that number was so high that it was unrealistic to be elected.”
“Having LGBT people sitting in the
room while decisions are being made, and sitting there as peers, will
shift the conversation,” she
added. “I think it's important that the lived experiences and
the point of view of LGBT folks be included in conversations that
affect all of us.”
Most of the candidates are Democrats.
Peter Boykin, the founder of Gays for Trump, is running for North
Carolina's Legislature as a Republican.
“The LGBTQ community have been
brainwashed that the Democratic Party is for their best interests,
and it's not the case,” Boykin, 40, said, noting that former
President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton initially opposed marriage
equality. He added that it's better to work from inside the party to
There are about 500 openly LGBT elected
officials in the United States, or 0.1 percent of elected officials.