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The Rainbow Wave Brings a Record Number of LGBTQ Candidates Into Office

We're here, we're queer, and we're taking over the government.
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Are you still recovering from the emotional rollercoaster that was the 2018 midterm elections? Yeah, me too. And while the Dems may have lost some high profile (and highly contentious) races, the fact that they have regained control of the House is an unmitigated win and a massive check on Donald Trump.

But perhaps what is most exciting about this election was the record number of LGBTQ candidates who won their races. These wins are especially crucial at a time when the Trump administration continues to push their anti-trans and anti-queer agenda.

Jared Polis won the Colorado gubernatorial election, making him the first openly gay man to be elected governor in the U.S. Polis had previously broken records as the first openly gay parent in Congress when he was in the House of Representatives. Kate Brown, the first openly bisexual governor, retained her seat in Oregon. Wisconsin’s Tammy Baldwin, the first openly gay person elected to the Senate, handily won her re-election.

Queer candidates also saw big wins in the House race, with Sharice Davids becoming the first LGBTQ person to win in Kansas. Davids, a former MMA fighter, is also one of the first Native American women to be elected, alongside New Mexico’s Deb Haaland. Chris Pappas won the seat in New Hampshire’s first district and became the first openly gay man elected to Congress from the state.

Minnesota’s Angie Craig unseated the virulently anti-gay Jason Lewis, after losing to him by only 2 points in 2016. Openly bisexual Katie Hill looks to be cruising to victory in California’s 25th district as the final results are coming in.

LGBTQ candidates also won several state-level seats. Two transgender women, Lisa Bunker and Geri Cannon, have been elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Teri Johnson will be Key West’s first lesbian mayor. And in an epic rebuke, anti-gay Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who made headlines for denying marriage licenses to queer couples, has lost her seat to Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr.

In a major policy win, Massachusetts voted yes on Question 3, which keeps an existing state law prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. The law protects transgender people from discrimination in public places, and allows them to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in a statement, “Tonight, millions of LGBTQ voters and allies across the nation rejected the politics of hate and fear and put Donald Trump and Mike Pence on notice. 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 in hate. Thanks to millions of Americans who stood up and fought back, we have succeeded in restoring a sane, pro-equality majority to the House and placing a check on this administration’s hateful agenda.”

(via Huffington Post, image: Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.