This political season we’ve seen a historically significant number of LGBTQ candidates and allies that are seeking local, state, and national office.
The Victory Fund, a Washington D.C. non-profit aimed at helping LGBTQ candidates achieve their political seat, is currently endorsing 107 candidates. To be endorsed a candidate must openly identify as LGBTQ and support efforts to advance the community.
While their endorsement list doesn’t include allies, it does show the greater number of qualified LGBTQ candidates entering politics on all levels. Today there are only six openly LGBTQ members in Congress and one in the Senate, just two of them being women overall.
Wherever you’re located in the U.S., you can visit VictoryFund.org and select your State to see which candidates are fighting for equality in your area.
Below are just a few LGBTQ candidates and allies who strongly support equal rights and have built the LGBTQ community into their platform. Get to know them.
1. Gavin Newsom
Running for: Governor of California
Platforms: Same-Sex Marriage, Gun Safety, Universal Healthcare, Criminal Justice Reform
Gavin Newsom has been serving as Lt. Governor of California since 2011, and before that he was Mayor of San Francisco since 2004.
Newsom has been a strong LGBTQ ally, most notably for legalizing same-sex marriage in the city of San Francisco in 2004 when it violated state law at the time. He was hailed as a hero of the LGBTQ community for fighting against the gay marriage ban and issuing hundreds of marriage licenses. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court of California quickly annulled the marriages that same year, but his bravery spoke volumes.
Currently Newsom is running on the campaign of “Defending California Values” which includes equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community.
2. Tammy Baldwin
Running for: Senate re-election in Wisconsin
Platforms: Middle Class, Debt-Free Higher Education, Veterans, Opioid Epidemic, Clean Water, Healthcare
Sen. Tammy Baldwin has already made history as the first openly gay member of the Senate elected in 2012. She’s currently running for re-election against two Republican challengers in a state that favored Trump in 2016.
In her past and present public service, Sen. Baldwin has championed equality. She was an early supporter of marriage equality, led the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,”and was a co-author of the Equality Act, landmark federal legislation that would provide the same basic nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ people as other protected groups under federal law.
She aims to work across party lines to invest in education, the middle class, quality healthcare for all, and build a strong manufacturing economy.
3. Kyrsten Sinema
Running for: Senate re-election in Arizona
Platforms: Women’s Rights, Affordable Healthcare, Veterans, Seniors, Job Growth
Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is currently serving her third term as U.S. Representative for Arizona’s 9thcongressional district. Elected in 2012, she’s now running for Arizona’s State Senate seat to replace Jeff Flake who will retire at the end of his term. She is currently running against former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was pardoned of criminal contempt charges by Trump last year.
If elected, she would be the first openly bisexual person elected to U.S. Senate and the first female Senator from Arizona.
Rep. Sinema is currently a co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, she cosponsored the Equality Act with Sen. Baldwin, and has consistently earned a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) congressional scorecard.
4. Dwight Evans
Running for: Re-election in Pennsylvania’s 2nd Congressional District
Platforms: Affordable Housing, Education, Job Creation, Community Safety, Environmental Protections
In 1980, Rep. Evans was first elected as a Pennsylvania State Representative, then he made history in 1990 by becoming the first African-American Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. In 2017, following the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Rep. Evans and New York Representative Adriano Espaillat introduced legislation banning Confederate monuments on federal property.
“Since I have been in elected office, I have long fought for equal rights for members of the LGBTQ community,” said Rep. Evans to HRC. “Whether being 1 of 16 members of the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1996 that voted against a same-sex marriage ban, or as appropriations chair funding programs that provided housing for at-risk LGBTQ youth and seniors, I have worked tirelessly towards building an open and caring society for all. I have taken these same principles to Washington and will continue to uphold them day in and day out as a member of Congress.”
5. Aftab Pureval
Running for: Ohio’s First Congressional District
Platforms: Women’s Rights, Economical Growth, Middle Class, Equality
Aftab Pureval is a relative newcomer to politics. As a former federal prosecutor, he’s currently the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts in Ohio, the first Democrat to hold this office in more than 100 years.
Just recently, HRC announced its endorsement of Pureval stating he will be another pro-equality voice in the United States Congress. “In Congress, I will stand up for the LGBT community and stand against all forms of discrimination,” Pureval said to HRC.
Pureval is a champion of the LGBTQ community who supports marriage equality and the Equality Act. He is facing Republican incumbent Rep. Steve Chabot who has consistently received a zero on HRC’s congressional scorecard which measures members’ of Congress support for LGBTQ equality.
6. Gina Ortiz Jones
Running for: Texas’ 23rd Congressional District
Platforms: Veterans, Seniors, Job Growth, National Security, Civil Rights and Freedoms
Gina Ortiz Jones is striving to be the first openly LGBTQ person elected to Congress from Texas and the second openly LGBTQ person of color to be elected to the House.
Ortiz Jones is an Iraq War veteran and former United States Air Force intelligence officer. She served under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and has been outspoken about the fear she experienced and the desire to never be forced back into the closet, making LGBTQ equality a campaign platform.
According to Emily’s List, she self-identifies as “openly gay, openly first generation, openly veteran, openly Asian-American, openly everything,” further stating, “right now is not the time to be closeted or be ashamed of who you are or who you love.”
Running for: Arkansas House of Representatives District 33
Platforms: LGBT rights, Environment, Healthcare, Jobs and Job Training
McCullough is a lifelong Arkansan who became interested in politics when she was fired from her teaching job after marrying her longtime partner in 2013. A school in Little Rock forced her resign after working there for 29 years.
The Arkansas ACLU awarded Tippi and her wife Barbara the 2014 Champions of Liberty Award. In 2016, she won a seat as a delegate to the historic Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. And in 2017, she was elected chair of the Democratic Party of Pulaski County, awarded the 2017 Honorary Young Democrats of Arkansas Lifetime Member Award, and was the LGBTQ speaker at the Little Rock Women’s March.
She and her wife, prosecutor Barbara Mariani, have made their home in Arkansas’ District 33 for nearly 20 years. If elected, McCullough will be the only openly LGBTQ woman in the Arkansas State Legislature.
Sources: Victory Fund, Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Emily’s List, Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus