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Politics LGBT politicians break barriers across US in historic election wins

05:55  24 january  2021
05:55  24 january  2021 Source:   afp.com

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This is a chronological list of openly lesbian , gay , bisexual , and transgender politicians who have held office in the United States . Historical figures are included only if there is documented evidence

Candidates in races across the country ended up making history . Election Night 2018 turned out to be a night of firsts — with groundbreaking victories for Native American, Muslim, black, gay and female candidates. Only one openly LGBT politician has ever been elected governor before: Oregon Gov.

When Brianna Titone first ran for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives, she was viewed as an unlikely candidate, and her opponents didn't bother to say much about her being a transgender woman.

a woman walking down a street: In this photo provided to AFP courtesy of Brianna For Colorado, Colorado House of Representatives lawmaker Brianna Titone poses for a photo on August 14, 2020 in Arvada, Colorado © Evan Semón In this photo provided to AFP courtesy of Brianna For Colorado, Colorado House of Representatives lawmaker Brianna Titone poses for a photo on August 14, 2020 in Arvada, Colorado

But after winning the seat in an upset and becoming the first transgender legislator in state history, a rival lawmaker voiced robocalls claiming Titone "wants to force a radical sexual agenda on every Coloradan."

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A swath of candidates broke down barriers with victories in Tuesday’s midterm elections Colorado voters delivered a historic win Tuesday with Rep. In successfully overtaking the incumbent in the state ’s 3rd Congressional District, Davids also becomes Kansas's first openly LGBT candidate to win

The following is a list of openly Lesbian , Gay , Bisexual and/or Transgender individuals who have been elected as Members of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, European Union, other devolved parliaments and assemblies of the United Kingdom

When she held campaign events, people began shouting expletives from passing cars.

Yet that didn't stop voters in Titone's suburban Denver district from giving her a second term -- one of hundreds of wins across the United States by politicians from the LGBT community, for which 2020 was their most successful election cycle in US history.

"We experienced nasty attacks, personal attacks from my colleagues, not just conservative groups," Titone told AFP about her race. "But we turned that around and we made hay when the sun was shining."

The LGBTQ Victory Fund advocacy group said that of the 782 out candidates at all levels of government who appeared on the ballots voters also used to unseat Donald Trump as president in favor of Joe Biden, 334 won their races in November, more than ever before.

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a man wearing a suit and tie: In this photo provided to AFP on January 22, 2021 by Joey Barnett, Tennessee state representative Eddie Mannis poses for a photo in Nashville, Tennessee © Handout In this photo provided to AFP on January 22, 2021 by Joey Barnett, Tennessee state representative Eddie Mannis poses for a photo in Nashville, Tennessee

"As we run more out LGBTQ officials (and) they are successful, they lead successfully, that inspires more people to come out and it changes attitudes," said Annise Parker, the group's president and CEO. "As attitudes change, it's easier to be elected."

- Discrimination dismantled -

American laws that once openly discriminated against gay, lesbian and transgender people have been dismantled in recent years, most notably with the Supreme Court's 2015 decision to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.

Biden, who took office on Wednesday, has unambiguously embraced LGBT rights, issuing an executive order reaffirming protections against gay and transgender discrimination and also appointing a gay man as transportation secretary and a transgender woman as assistant health secretary, both firsts.

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That's a break from Trump, who attempted to strip transgender people of protections in the workplace and bar them from the military, decisions Parker said pushed many gay people into politics -- although most candidates who triumphed last November did so in Democratic-leaning states or districts.


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"I can't tell you how many candidates I spoke to over the last couple of years who said, 'I'm running because I want my country back,'" she said.

Reliably Democratic Delaware elected the nation's first transgender state senator, while in deeply conservative Oklahoma, the first nonbinary state legislator, who is also the chamber's first Muslim, won office representing a district that normally supports Democrats.

Stephanie Byers acknowledged that her district's Democratic leanings helped her become the first transgender lawmaker elected to the Kansas House of Representatives and the first transgender Native American lawmaker in the country, but said even conservative voters didn't seem bothered by her candidacy.

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"The fact that I ran as an openly trans person and there was no pushback at all, from any angle, it made the statement that the people of Kansas are ready for this," she said in an interview.

- 'Not Republican enough' -

When it comes to gay Republicans, they are few and far between, with the LGBTQ Victory Fund saying they were aware of 19 Republican candidates -- seven of whom won.

After entering the race for a House of Representatives seat in Tennessee, Eddie Mannis began to hear a strange critique: he wasn't Republican enough.

"I really then understood what that was code for," Mannis said. "I think 'not Republican enough' from some people means that, 'oh he's a gay man.'"

Mannis nonetheless became one of the first two LGBT lawmakers in the state legislature, along with a Democrat who identifies as bisexual.

He will join a Republican caucus whose lawmakers have backed bills to restrict transgender people's participation in school sports and protect adoption agencies that don't work with same-sex couples.

"It will be important to me to share a different opinion that they've probably never heard before. I think that's what I really bring to the Republican Party, but I'm not there to shove it down their throats," he said.

- Cold shoulder -

Yet the campaign trail isn't the only place LGBT politicians can face opposition because of who they are, as Titone learned after first being elected in 2018.

At the Colorado state capital, some lawmakers didn't take kindly to her presence, only reluctantly acknowledging her in the halls.

Two legislators would go so far as to deliberately misgender her, addressing Titone as "mister chair" when it was her turn to preside over the House chamber.

Despite that, her message for aspiring LGBT lawmakers is simple: keep going.

"If you feel like you really have a chance to do it, just do it, because somebody has to be the first, and you won't be the last," she said.

cs/dw

After Trump's election loss, Republicans across the US are racing to enact new voting restrictions .
Swing states like Arizona and Wisconsin are home to some of the most dramatic election-related reforms that have surfaced since the 2020 election.In 2010, Republicans made historic gains in state legislatures, flipping 24 chambers that year, allowing them to control the redistricting process for the past decade. In additional drawing scores of safe GOP House seats, the party pushed a wave of socially-conservative legislation that centered on restricting abortion rights and minimizing the collective bargaining power of public-sector labor unions.

usr: 0
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