There’s reason to cheer

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The world seems to be spinning out of control, and at times, that includes our community. We all know the issues that are taking us on this path, but there is an opposite view if you give yourself time to take a breath and notice. There’s absolutely some good news out there and if you’re anything like me, you’re just plain tired of all the bad news and want something to give you hope for the future. So let’s see if we can help you out with that.

There was an election last week and while you heard a lot about how great a victory it was for the Democrats, you might not have heard that it was also a slam dunk night for LGBTQ+ candidates running for office. The LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, which is the place for all things LGBTQ+ politics, put out a press release the day after the election, which was headlined “Rainbow Wave: Historic Number of LGBTQ+ Candidates Elected in 2023; More Out Candidates Elected Than in Any Other Odd-Numbered Election Year.”  

More than 200 LGBTQ+ candidates won the election in 2023 more than any other year in history. The previous record was in 2021 with 184 elected. And the Victory Fund further tells us that more OUT candidates are running for office each year. Now that is all good news and the Victory Fund, which trains and supports LGBTQ+ candidates, should take a deserved bow.

So let’s allow the Victory Fund to give you their success story.

“2023 trends:  

  • 68 percent of LGBTQ+ school board candidates won their races (34 out of 50); 
  • The number of LGBTQ+ legislators in the four states holding elections increased from 7 to 12; 
  • Of the 148 LGBTQ+ women who ran for office, 83 won their elections — a rate of 56 percent;  
  • Of the 239 out men who ran for office, 121 won their elections – a rate of 51 percent;  
  • Of the 468 out LGBTQ+ candidates who ran in 2023, 238 have won their elections, a success rate of 50.85 percent; 
  • The success rate for LGBTQ+ Victory Fund endorsed candidates was 71 percent, compared to 29.5 percent for non-endorsed LGBTQ+ candidates.  

Among the historic milestones achieved by LGBTQ+ Victory Fund candidates: 

  • Fabian Nelson won his election to represent Mississippi State House District 66, becoming the state’s first out LGBTQ+ legislator;  
  • Rue Landau will be Philadelphia’s first out LGBTQ+ City Council member;
  • All nine LGBTQ+ Victory Fund candidates for the Virginia General Assembly won their races, including in competitive races that determined partisan control in both chambers. Danica Roem will become the first out transgender state senator anywhere in the South.”

Those winning candidates are now mayors, members of city councils, state senators, state representatives, school board members and judges. They also represent every spectrum of our community and are elected in some of the reddest states. As the expression goes, “we are everywhere,” and it seems we are getting elected everywhere.  

My life mantra has been visibility. You can’t be more visible than being a candidate running for elected office. These are our future leaders and role models.  

In 1974, there was only one elected official in the nation, Kathy Kozachenko, a member of the Ann Arbor Michigan City Council. Today, there are OUT governors, U.S. senators, Congress members, state reps, state senators, city council members and mayors. In fact, other than president and vice president, we are represented on all levels of political life in the country.  That’s what I think should give us all hope.

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