Net Worth

LBGTQ Community Makes Historic Finish in 2022 Polls

Several LGBTQ candidates campaigned for office and won, making the 2022 midterm elections a historic milestone for the LGBTQ community.

According to a recent tally, more than 340 LGBTQ candidates won their campaigns, breaking the previous high set in 2020 (336 victories). In addition, the largest number of openly LGBTQ candidates to ever run for office in a US general election, with over 678, was also running for office. The nation sensed positive ripples due to the sizeable non-binary candidate turnout. A group that advocates for the LGBTQ community, Victory Fund, expressed satisfaction with the high level of political representation.

Established in 1991, Victory Fund decided to back LGBTQ candidates running for public office. The group gives the candidates campaigning training and connects them to a broad network using its resources.

This enables them to improve their public image and get knowledge from incumbent LGBTQ candidates. The corporation supported and backed more than 500 candidates in the 2022 elections, according to Sean Meloy, vice president of political programs at the company.

“Normally, when someone gets in [office], they don’t pull the ladder up after. Instead, they’re going to say, ‘Hey, who’s next? Who’s going to take over for me? Who else can I get to join me?’ So I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have more LGBTQ candidates running than ever at the same time we have the most LGBTQ people in the office,” he said.

“People of color, trans people and nonbinary people. And in places where we need those voices, the mere fact that an LGBTQ person steps forward to run – and then hopefully win – helps change hearts and minds,” Meloy added.

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LGBTQ community creating ripples

The community accomplished many firsts during the midterm elections. The US electorate, for instance, voted for Massachusetts’ Maura Healey and Oregon’s Tina Kotek. They will now serve as its first openly lesbian officers.

For the first time in US history, the first Black LGBTQ person became elected to a state legislature in Connecticut. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, James Roesener became the first transgender person elected to the state legislature. In addition, Zooey Sephyr also won and will serve as the first openly transgender person to be elected to a state legislature.

“I always hesitate to call an election historic, because the attacks on human rights, education, healthcare, public lands, unions, etc. feel perpetual. However, every election requires our attention. There is always something important worth fighting for. And if we fail to fight to our fullest, there are always groups waiting to strip our rights away,” Sephyr said.

“I think, given how attacks on LGBTQ people have ramped up over the last year has served as a reminder that LGBTQ people need to be in the room where the laws are being written. For example, 300+ anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation were introduced last year. And over half of which targeted trans people specifically,” she added.

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Looking at a better future

Victory Fund believes it needs more movement. For example, there should be about 35,000 more LGBTQ officials in the US to achieve parity in the political environment. Though more people among Millennials and Gen Zers identify as community members, Meloy remains optimistic about this prospect.

“I think it shows that it’s possible, right? And so many underrepresented people in government – women, young people, people of color, LGBTQ people, disabled people – they’re always told, ‘Oh, you can’t do it […] because it hasn’t been done. So breaking that barrier makes that argument – ‘No.’ Which is a huge starting point,” he said.

Opinions expressed by Net Worth contributors are their own.