Words: Emily Maskell; pictures: Pexels
A record number of LGBTQ candidates are running for US Congress, more than in any other election cycle in US history according to one campaign group.
The LGBTQ Victory Fund, which is a national organisation dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ+ people to all levels of government, says there are 101 LGBTQ people running for seats in the US Congress this year.
This news comes after the Supreme Court overturned abortion rights and Justice Clarence Thomas suggested reconsidering the right to same-sex marriage cast a dark shadow across the US last week.
Compared to 2020, there's a 16 percent increase in LGBTQ Congressional candidates. 87 people ran two years ago.
Among the Fund’s key findings, LGBTQ Congressional candidates are the most racially and ethnically diverse in history, with 41 percent of LGBTQ Congressional candidates identifying as people of colour.
Additionally, trans-Congressional candidates doubled from 2020, from five to ten, while Congressional candidates who do not identify as cisgender increased by 70 percent.
Bisexual candidates grew from eight to 11 and gay candidates from 40 to 58. 11 Lesbian candidates are running, a 39 percent decrease from 2020.
There is hope that with greater representation of LGBTQ citizens at all levels of government that the threats of violence and suspension that loom over gay and trans rights can be addressed in this time of severe threat to the LGBTQ community.
In Congress’ 232-year history, only 17 out LGBTQ people have been elected to the US House and just two to the US Senate.
Though the number of LGBTQ candidates is higher than ever, the spread across states has declined to 33, it was 36 states in 2020 and 40 in 2018.
Among the LGBTQ candidates hoping to bring change in the US is Jamie McLeod-Skinnerm, a Democrat nominee for Oregon's 5th Congressional District.
If she wins her midterms, she’ll be the first-ever out LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Oregon.
If candidates like McLeod-Skinnerm are successful, they will join the existing nine openly LGBTQ people who hold seats in the US House and the two who hold seats in the US Senate.
These current numbers equate to only 2.1 percent of the 435 members of the House identifying openly as LGBTQ.
The Attitude July/August issue is out now.