Key Wins for LGBTQ Candidates Across the Country

Danica Roem won reelection to the Virginia House of Delegates, making her the longest-serving out trans state legislator in US history.
REUTERS/Jonathan Drake

In addition to victories for LGBTQ City Council candidates in New York City, several other queer candidates garnered victories across the country on election night, bringing more queer candidates to leadership roles in state and local offices.

Virginia, Michigan, Montana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are among the states where voters elected LGBTQ officials. Danica Roem, an out transgender woman, won a third re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates, making her the longest-serving trans state legislator in US history. Roem pulled in 15,276 votes, or 54.32 percent of the votes, defeating anti-LGBTQ candidate Chris Stone, according to election data from the Virginia Department of Elections.

In a written statement, Annise Parker, the Victory Fund’s out lesbian president and CEO, applauded Roem’s reelection as an inspiration for other trans candidates running for public office.

“Danica’s voters again chose a qualified trans leader over an anti-LGBTQ opponent — rejecting the so-called ‘culture wars’ that aim to divide, not improve people’s lives,” Parker said in a written statement to Gay City News. “While Danica’s energies are focused on her district, the impact of her leadership resonates across the country. Danica exemplifies the winning recipe for trans candidates: exemplary constituent services and a hyper-focus on the issues that matter.”

In Michigan, Gabriela Santiago-Romero became the first out LGBTQ Latinx woman to win a seat in the Detroit City Council or to be elected to public office statewide. Santiago-Romero defeated Latinx candidate Hector Santiago after receiving 5,921 votes, according to election results in City Council District Six. 

History was also made in Montana, where out LGBTQ candidate Christopher Coburn was elected to the Bozeman City Commission and became the first Black queer candidate elected in the state. Coburn’s win puts him in line to become one of seven out LGBTQ officials in Montana, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Coburn took to Instagram to celebrate the historic victory and applaud the community for their support.

“It’s hard to find the right words. I’ll start with thank you! Bozeman, I love you and I’m grateful for your support and trust,” Coburn wrote in a post. “Y’all helped make history. With this win, I become the first out queer Black elected official in Montana history. It feels incredibly meaningful to bring representation and visibility to folks like me who don’t usually see themselves in local government. It’s an honor and it’s exciting, and something that I don’t take lightly.”

In Cleveland, out bisexual candidate Rebecca Maurer became the first LGBTQ woman elected to the Cleveland City Council after beating longtime incumbent Anthony Brancatelli. Maurer, who garnered 51.18 percent or 1,558 votes, according to local election results, praised the public in a tweet for helping her win the election.

“Thank you, Ward 12. Together, we did it!” she tweeted. “More to come about next steps, but for this evening, my heart is full with gratitude for all who voted and all who contributed to this hard-fought election.”

Similarly, Dion Manley became the first trans person designated to Gahanna Jefferson School Board in Ohio, making him the first trans person elected to public office in the state. According to data from the Victory Institute, Manley joins five other trans men elected to public office in the US.

Non-binary candidates Thu Nguyen and Xander Orenstein also grabbed wins in local races. Nguyen became the first non-binary person elected to public office in Massachusetts after winning a seat on the Worcester City Council. Orenstein prevailed in the race for the Allegheny County Magisterial District Court in Pennsylvania and is now the first non-binary person elected to a judicial position in the US. After the polls closed, Orenstein issued a statement of gratitude to voters.

“There is so much to be said about the way our community responded to this campaigns’ radical, transformative visions of justice, but for now, I must just say thank you,” Orenstein wrote on Twitter. “Thank you to every volunteer, neighbor, and friend who knocked doors and made calls.”

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