First LGBTQ Holders of US Political Offices

Huff Post: Obama Legacy on LGBTQ Rights

Pete Buttigieg: First LGBTQ Person to Win Delegates in Any Presidential Contest

Rainbow Wave: 114 LGBTQ Candidates Won Office This Year

Pete Buttigieg: Unlikely Unprecedented Presidential Campaign

Rainbow Wave Hits Midwest

Republicans and Democrats: LGBTQ Acceptance

HRC: Important Moments for LGBTQ Progress

Candidate Pete Buttigieg Confronts VP Mike Pence About Anti-Gay Comments

Washington Blade: How Trump Could Undermine LGBTQ Rights

Rep. Angie Craig: LGBTQ Member of Congress

CNN: What a Trump Presidency Could Mean for LGBTQ Americans

New York Times: Trump Victory Alarms LGBTQ Groups

Pete Buttigieg: Advocate Magazine Interview

Huff Post: Assault on LGBTQ Rights Already Underway

First Drag Queen Elected to Public Office in US



Pete Buttigieg Wins Iowa Caucus


In February 2020, Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg made history at the Iowa caucus. He is the first LGBTQ person to win delegates in any presidential contest. He hopes his success in that contest will provide some amount of comfort and inspiration to young people who feel marginalized in their families and communities.


“It validates for a kid, somewhere in a community, wondering if he belongs, or she belongs, or they belong in their own family, that if you believe in yourself and your country, there’s a lot backing up that belief,” he said. In the final days before the Iowa caucuses, Buttigieg had leaned on the historic nature of his candidacy. The 38-year-old would also be the youngest president, if elected. “So, are you ready to make history one more time?” he said to an estimated 2,000 people at his final rally in Des Moines.

Buttigieg reminded Iowans that he was in Iowa roughly 12 years ago to knock doors for Barack Obama when the nation’s first black president was making his bid for the White House.Buttigieg said he also remembered watching from afar in 2009 when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in 2009 to uphold same-sex marriages. The consequential decision paved the way for a 2015 ruling in the US Supreme Court. “You all changed what people thought was possible once again, and gave someone like me permission to believe that one day I would be able to wear this wedding ring,” Buttigieg told the crowd. "You did that.”


Pete Buttigieg: First LGBTQ Person to Win Delegates in Any Presidential Contest

Pete Buttigieg: Advocate Magazine Interview

Iowa Voter Shocked to Learn Buttigieg is Gay, Asks to Change Vote

Pete Buttigieg Interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell

Pete Buttigieg: Unlikely Unprecedented Presidential Campaign

Pete Buttigieg Interviewed by Bill Maher

Candidate Pete Buttigieg Confronts VP Mike Pence About Anti-Gay Comments



Rainbow Wave: LGBTQ Candidates Getting Elected


In 2019, 144 openly LGBTQ candidates won their races, according to Victory Fund, an organization which supports LGBTQ political candidates nationwide. In addition, 12 races involving LGBTQ candidates remain undecided or are headed to runoff elections.

A total of 382 known out LGBTQ candidates ran in political races this year. Among winners in Nov 2019 were eight bisexuals, 20 lesbians and nine trans women, including Danica Roem who serves in Virginia’s House of Delegates, making her the first-ever trans person to win re-election for a state legislature in the US.

“Anti-LGBTQ attacks on our candidates almost universally backfired,” said Annise Parker, President and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, in a statement. She added: "LGBTQ candidates are winning elections in numbers and in parts of the country thought unthinkable a decade or two ago. LGBTQ people are in every community – we are people of color, women, immigrants, and people with disabilities – and we come from families both liberal and conservative. This beautiful diversity provides an opportunity to connect on some level with every single voter in America. That is the reason LGBTQ candidates are winning in unprecedented numbers, and this will only accelerate in the years ahead."

Victory Fund says there are currently 765 openly LGBTQ elected officials serving nationwide.


Rainbow Wave: 114 LGBTQ Candidates Won Office This Year

Danica Roem: First Trans Legislator Re-Elected

Trans Lawmaker of Virginia: Danica Roem

Victory Fund: Results 2019

Victory Institute: Out for America



LGBTQ Victory Fund


The LGBTQ Victory Fund (commonly shortened to Victory Fund) is an American political action committee dedicated to increasing the number of openly LGBTQ public officials in the United States. Victory Fund is the largest LGBTQ political action committee in the United States and one of the nation’s largest non-connected PACs. The Victory Fund was founded in 1991 as a non-partisan political action committee. It provides strategic, technical and financial support to openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer candidates and officials across the United States running for all levels of government. Its partner organization, Victory Institute, offers programs and training to elected officials.

According to the Victory Fund organization, its mission is "to work to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ officials at all levels of government."


Since 1991, Victory Fund has helped elect thousands of LGBTQ candidates. These LGBTQ voices have made significant contributions to advancing equality for LGBTQ Americans, from passing non-discrimination laws to defeating amendments to ban marriage equality.

The Victory Fund provides campaign, fundraising and communications support to LGBTQ candidates to increase the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials. According to the Victory Fund, "Representation is power. When LGBTQ elected leaders are in the room, they humanize our lives, impact policy and legislative debates and influence straight lawmaker colleagues to vote in favor of equality. LGBTQ elected officials are our best defense against anti-LGBTQ efforts at all levels of government, and are best positioned to advance equality for our community."

Victory Fund

Wikipedia: LGBTQ Victory Fund

2019 Candidates Endorsed by the Victory Fund


Pete Buttigieg: Gay Presidential Candidate


When Pete Buttigieg announced that he was running for president in March 2019, the general feeling was he was a minor candidate at best. At 37, he’s just two years older than the office requires, and thirty (even forty) years younger than some of his Democratic rivals. The only elected office he has held is mayor of South Bend, Indiana, which, with a population of 102,000, is hardly a metropolis.

And then there’s the gay thing. As an openly gay candidate, Buttigieg seemed easy to classify as a novelty. All in all, Buttigieg looked like he was destined to be a footnote in a crowded presidential field. But, it’s not turning out that way at all.


Buttigieg is proving to be a credible candidate simply by being himself. His appearance at a CNN Town Hall was a turning point. Buttigieg impressed the audience and pundits by his plainspokenness and command of facts, to say nothing of his ability to turn a phrase.

He called Vice President Mike Pence, whom Buttigieg knows personally, the “cheerleader of the porn presidency,” a description that will haunt Pence for years and will serve as an epitaph for his career.

Buttigieg did such a good job that he raised $600,000 from 22,000 donors in just 24 hours. Within a few days, Buttigieg was able to announce that he had hit the threshold of 65,000 donors necessary to qualify him for the Democratic candidates’ debate.


Buttigieg has the kind of background that is tailor-made for a presidential candidate: Harvard, Rhodes scholar, veteran. He also has a big uphill battle. Most people don’t know who he is; he’s polling at one percent. He’s not the fundraising juggernaut that other candidates are. The media’s love affair with him now can quickly turn, as the press decides the pendulum has swung too far in that direction.

Yet so far, Buttigieg’s candidacy has been more successful than anyone would have predicted. Seeing him arrayed on a stage crowded with first-tier candidates will further boost his credibility. Maybe Buttigieg doesn’t win the nomination for president, at least not this time around. But he’s definitely paved the way for a bigger presence in the Democratic party.


Gay Presidential Candidate Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Pete Announces Prez Campaign and Kisses Husband

Pete Buttigieg: Advocate Magazine Interview

Mayor Pete Hailed as Role Model by 58 US Mayors

NY Times: Pete Buttigieg Might be President

Pete Buttigieg and Husband on Cover of Time Magazine

Pete Buttigieg: Gay South Bend Mayor Running for President

CNN: Pete Buttigieg Doing Well in the Polls

Pete Buttigieg: Unlikely Unprecedented Presidential Campaign

Washington Post: Is Pete Buttigieg Gay Enough?

Pete Buttigieg Will be Part of Presidential Debate

South Bend Tribune: Mayor Buttigieg Marries Partner

Pete Buttigieg: Presidential Candidate With an Advantage Over Trump

LGBTQ Nation: Why Pete Buttigieg is Good for Gays


Lori Lightfoot: First Gay, Black, Female Mayor of Chicago

Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot trounced her opponent in April 2019 and made history. Lightfoot will be the only black lesbian mayor in the nation. And the first out mayor of one of America’s three largest cities.

“A Black lesbian taking power in the nation’s third-largest city is a historic moment for so many communities that are too often ignored in American politics,” said former Houston mayor Annise Parker. Parker, the President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund formerly held the record as the “highest ranking” out mayor. Houston is the nation’s fourth largest city.


“Chicago’s enormous influence on the national dialogue provides a platform for Lori to promote more inclusive solutions to the challenges facing our cities and nation – and to be a credible messenger as well,” Parker said. “Lori will certainly remain focused on the issues facing Chicago. But as the highest-ranking LGBTQ person ever elected mayor of an American city (a title she takes from me) she is also now a key leader in the movement to build LGBTQ political power nationwide.”

“As the first openly LGBTQ woman of color to be elected mayor in any of America’s 100 largest cities and the first black woman to serve as Mayor of Chicago, Lightfoot is an inspiration to thousands of LGBTQ people of color who have a new role model in elected office,” DNC chair Tom Perez said in an emailed statement.

“This historic win reaffirms that our diversity is our greatest strength, and that our elected leaders should reflect the diversity of the communities they represent. I look forward to working with Mayor-elect Lightfoot as she fights to build a brighter future for all. The people of Chicago will be well served with her leadership.”

LGBTQ Nation: Black Lesbian Becomes Chicago Mayor

USA Today: Chicago Makes History with First Gay, Black, Female Mayor

Chicago Tribune: Lori Lightfoot Breaks the Rules

Advocate: Lesbian Mayoral Candidates Making History


Donald Trump Elected President

The election of Donald Trump in November 2016 to the presidency sent panic through much of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community, which for the first time in eight years will face an administration hostile to its civil rights goals and a president-elect who has expressed a desire to reverse many of its political gains.

The Human Rights Campaign (one of the most prominent LGBTQ advocacy groups) responded quickly after the results were announced. President Chad Griffin called the election a “crucial moment for our nation and for the LGBTQ movement.”


The LGBTQ community called upon the President-elect Donald Trump to rise above the often divisive rhetoric of his campaign, while urging its members to stay vigilant and fight for equal rights.

He pledged to “bind the wounds of division” in his victory speech, though he’s been criticized for promising to elect conservative justices to the Supreme Court — justices that could overturn marriage equality and other LGBTQ civil rights.

In his home state of Indiana, Vice President-elect Mike Pence signed numerous anti-gay legislation, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2015, which allowed individuals and businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people. In the 2000 election, Pence said money raised by the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program should go to organizations “which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” So-called “conversion therapy” has been called emotionally and physically harmful by many members of the LGBTQ community.


CNN: What a Trump Presidency Could Mean for LGBTQ Americans

New York Times: Trump Victory Alarms LGBTQ Groups

Washington Blade: Anti-Gay Leaders Bask in Trump Victory

Is this the end of same-sex marriage? Many same-sex couples worry that their marriages could be invalidated in Trump's America, or that if things are getting serious they better hurry up and make it official before their right to tie the knot disappears. Neither the President nor Congress can take away what the Supreme Court has deemed a "fundamental right," leaving current marriages safe, multiple legal experts said. While Trump does not have the right to unilaterally scrap marriage equality, he has the power to appoint Supreme Court justices who could.


Jay Brown, a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign, said its office had received calls throughout the day on Wednesday from frightened people who wanted to know what the election results might mean for them. Some callers wondered if they should speed up wedding plans so they could be married before the inauguration, in case a President Trump tries to overturn gay marriage, he said. Others worried that the military would reinstate “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the ban on openly gay and lesbian service members that ended in 2011. “This is a devastating loss for our community,” Mr. Brown said. “It is something a lot of folks are still trying to wrap their heads around.”



Annise Parker: First Lesbian Mayor of Houston

Annise Danette Parker (born May 17, 1956) is an American politician who served as the 61st Mayor of Houston, Texas, from 2010 until 2016. She also served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council from 1998 to 2003 and city controller from 2004 to 2010.

Parker was Houston's second female mayor (after Kathy Whitmire), and one of the first openly gay mayors of a major US city, with Houston being the most populous US city to date to elect an openly gay mayor, until Lori Lightfoot was elected mayor of Chicago in 2019.


LGBTQ Politicians


As of 2016, all 50 states have been served by openly LGBTQ elected politicians in some capacity.  43 states have elected openly LGBTQ politicians to one or both houses of their state legislature. There has been one openly bisexual state governor.  One state governor has come out as gay.  No openly LGBTQ person has served as president or vice president of the United States, nor has an openly gay person ever served on the Supreme Court of the United States.



US Congress


--Rep Gerry Studds (D-Mass) - First out congressperson and Democrat. Served 1973–1997. Outed 1983.
--Rep Barney Frank (D-Mass) - First to voluntarily come out. Served 1980–2013. Came out in 1987.
--Rep Steve Gunderson (R-Wis) - First out Republican. Served 1981–1997. Outed 1994.
--Sen Harris Wofford - Not out when first elected. First male US Senator to come out. Served 1991–1995. Came out in 2016 after announcing plans to marry a man.
--Rep Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz) - First Republican to voluntarily come out. Served 1985–2007. Came out 1996.
--Rep Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis) - First lesbian.  Out when first elected. Served 1999–2013.
--Rep Jared Polis (Colo) - First gay man.  Out when first elected. Served 2009–present.
--Rep Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz) - Out when first elected. First openly bisexual member of Congress. Elected 2012.
--Rep Mark Pocan (Wisc) - Out when first elected. First to succeed another openly-gay officeholder in office. Elected 2012. Succeeded Tammy Baldwin.
--Rep Mark Takano (Cal) - Out when first elected. First non-white openly gay member of Congress. Elected 2012.
--Sen Tammy Baldwin (Wis) - Out when first elected. First openly LGBTQ Senator. Elected 2012.



US Executive

--Roberta Achtenberg - First openly LGBTQ person appointed to a federal position requiring confirmation by US Senate. Assistant Secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at US Dept of Housing and Urban Development (1993). Later became commissioner for US Commission on Civil Rights in 2011.

--James Hormel - First openly LGBTQ Ambassador. Served 1999–2001 in Luxembourg.
--Sharon Lubinski - First openly LGBTQ US Marshal. District of Minnesota (2009).

--Jenny Durkan - First openly LGBTQ US Attorney. Western District of Washington (2009).

--Chai Feldblum - First openly LGBTQ Commissioner of Equal Employment Opportunity Comm (2010).

--Fred Hochberg - First openly LGBTQ person in a cabinet-rank position. Deputy Administrator / Acting Administrator of Small Business Administration, which held cabinet-rank during the Clinton administration. Later became Chairman and President of Export-Import Bank in 2009.

--Eric Fanning - Secretary of the Army. Appointed 2016.


Washington Blade: How Trump Could Undermine LGBTQ Rights

CNN: What a Trump Presidency Could Mean for LGBTQ Americans

New York Times: Trump Victory Alarms LGBTQ Groups

Huff Post: Assault on LGBTQ Rights Already Underway


Obama's Support of LGBTQ Community

"While we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do. Too often, the issue of LGBTQ rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It's about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect."
-Barack Obama, June 2007

"I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or who you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try."
-Barack Obama, November 2012


During the presidency of Barack Obama his agenda regarding LGBTQ rights included these items:

--Expand Hate Crimes Statutes

--Fight Workplace Discrimination

--Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBTQ Couples

--Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage

--Repeal Don't Ask-Don't Tell

--Expand Adoption Rights

--Promote AIDS Prevention


President Obama Speaks for Gay Civil Rights

Big LGBTQ Thank You to President Obama

Gay is Good for America

LGBTQ Speakers at DNC Convention

President Obama: It Get's Better


LGBTQ Politicians


State Delegation


--Ariz Rep Jim Kolbe (R) - Served 1985–07. Outed in 1996 following his vote for anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act.
--Ariz Rep Kyrsten Sinema (D) - Bisexual. Elected 2012.
--Cal Rep Michael Huffington (R) – Served 1993–95. Came out as bisexual in 1998.
--Cal Rep Mark Takano (D) – Elected 2012.
--Colo Rep Jared Polis (D) – Elected 2008.
--Conn Rep Stewart McKinney (R) – Bisexual. Served 1971–87. Died of AIDS in 1987.
--Fla Rep Mark Foley (R) – Served 1995–06. Outed by lawyer after resignation in 2006 due to sex scandal.
--Maine Rep Mike Michaud (D) – Served 2003–15. Came out in 2013 while running for Governor.
--Maryland Rep Robert Bauman (R) – Served 1973–81. Outed after sex scandal.

--Mass Rep Gerry Studds (D) – Served 1973–97. Came out involuntary in 1983 due to sex scandal.
--Mass Rep Barney Frank (D) – Served 1980–13. Came out voluntarily in 1987 due to sex scandal.

--Miss Rep Jon Hinson (R) – Served 1979–81. Outed after sodomy arrest in 1981.
--NY Rep Sean Patrick Maloney (D) – Elected 2012.
--RI Rep David Cicilline (D) – Elected 2010.
--Wis Sen Tammy Baldwin (D) – Elected 2012.
--Wis Rep Tammy Baldwin (D) – Served 1999–13.
--Wis Rep Steve Gunderson (R) – Served 1981–97. Outed involuntarily in 1994.
--Wis Rep Mark Pocan (D) – Elected 2012. Out when elected.



--Mass Rep Elaine Noble (D) - First openly lesbian or gay candidate elected to a state legislature. Elected in 1974. Served two terms starting in January 1975. Out when elected.

--Gov Jim McGreevey (D-NJ) - First openly gay governor. Came out 2004 (during the same speech in which he announced his resignation as governor).

--Gov Kate Brown (D-Ore) - First openly bisexual governor and first person to be openly LGBTQ at time of taking office as governor. Ascended to office in 2015 after previous governor resigned.
--Maura Healey (D-Mass) - First openly gay attorney general. Elected in 2014.

--Minn Sen Allan H. Spear (D) – Elected Senate President in 1993.
--RI Rep Gordon D. Fox (D) – Elected Speaker of House in 2010.

First LGBTQ Holders of US Political Offices

Huff Post: Obama Legacy on LGBTQ Rights

Rainbow Wave Hits Midwest

Republicans and Democrats: LGBTQ Acceptance

HRC: Important Moments for LGBTQ Progress


US Senator Tammy Baldwin

First Openly Lesbian US Congress Woman


In 2012, Rep Tammy Baldwin (D) beat former Governor Tommy Thompson (R) to represent Wisconsin in the US Senate. Baldwin is the first openly gay US Senator and the first female Senator to represent Wisconsin.


"If you dream of a world in which you can put your partner's picture on your desk, then put her picture on your desk...and you will live in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can walk down the street holding your partner's hand, then hold her hands...and you will live in such a world. If you dream of a world in which there are more openly gay elected officials, then run for office...and you will live in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can take your partner to the office party, even if your office is the US House of Representatives, then take her to the party. I do, and now I live in such a world. Remember, there are two things that keep us oppressed --- them and us. We are half of the equation."
-Tammy Baldwin, US Congress

In 1999 State Rep Tammy Baldwin has made history by becoming the first openly gay first-time candidate ever elected to US Congress, winning Wisconsin's 2nd congressional district seat over Josephine Musser. While four openly gay men have served in the House, all disclosed their sexual orientation after first being elected to their posts. Baldwin also becomes the first lesbian to win a House election. The 2nd district seat was vacated by moderate Republican Scott Klug.



LGBTQ Politicians



--Lori Lightfoot - First gay, black, female mayor of Chicago (2019).

--Pete Buttigieg - Openly Gay (and married) Mayor of South Bend, IN.

--David Cicilline - First mayor of a US state capital. Providence, Rhode Island (2002).
--Neil Giuliano - First directly elected openly gay mayor in US. Tempe, AZ (1998.)
--Annise Parker - Largest US city with lesbian mayor. Houston, Texas (2009).
--Ed Murray - Largest US city with gay male mayor. Seattle, Washington (2014).
--Cathy Woolard - First openly gay president of a city council. Atlanta, GA (2002–04).
--Stu Rasmussen - First transgender mayor. Silverton, Oregon (2008).
--Nancy Wechsler and Jerry DeGrieck - First openly LGBTQ members of a city council. Both elected as members of Human Rights Party to Ann Arbor City Council (Michigan) in 1972. Both came out in 1973.
--Kathy Kozachenko - First openly gay person elected to public office (city council). Ann Arbor, Michigan (1974).
--Jim Yeadon - First openly gay man elected to a US city council. Madison, Wisconsin (1977).
--Harvey Milk - First openly gay man non-incumbent elected in US. First openly gay person elected to public office in California. Member of San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Elected 1976. Assassinated in 1978 by Dan White (who also killed Mayor George Moscone).
--Keith St. John - First openly gay black person elected to public office in US. Elected to Albany, New York common council in 1989.
--Ricardo Gonzalez - First openly gay Hispanic person elected to public office in US. Madison, Wisconsin.
--Joanne Conte - First openly transgender member of a city council. Arvada, Colorado. Trans woman. Served on Arvada City Council from 1991 to 1995.
--Marlene Pray - First openly bisexual member of a city council. Joined Doylestown, Pennsylvania council in 2012. Resigned 2013. Also first openly bisexual office holder in Pennsylvania.
--Christine Quinn - City Council Speaker. Elected 2006.
--Ron Oden - Palm Springs, California. First openly gay African-American Mayor popularly elected in US.
--Neil Guillano - Mayor of Tempe, AZ.
--Rep Patricia Todd (D) - Birmingham, Alabama. First openly gay legislator in Alabama.
--Rep Nicole LeFavour - First openly gay official in Idaho.
--Sam Adams - City Commissioner. First openly gay Commissioner in Portland.
--Sam Adams - Mayor. Portland, Oregon.

Patricia Todd: Lesbian Lawmaker From Alabama

In 2006, Patricia Todd served as the first openly gay legislator in the State of Alabama. She held a state House seat representing parts of Birmingham (54th legislative district).



In the June 6 primary election, Alabama voters overwhelmingly approved a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Ironically, on the same day Patricia Todd came one step closer to becoming the first openly gay member of the Alabama Legislature. The massive vote for the anti-gay marriage amendment did not make her victory bittersweet, she said. "We knew the marriage amendment was going to pass overwhelmingly. It was not surprising. It was just a matter of how big the margin was going to be," Todd said.

Patricia Todd made history when voters in Alabama’s 54th legislative district voted to send the Democrat to the State House, marking the first time ever that legislature will include an openly gay Representative. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian political action committee, endorsed Todd and helped raise tens of thousands of dollars from its national network of donors to help fund her campaign.


First LGBTQ Holders of US Political Offices

Huff Post: Obama Legacy on LGBTQ Rights

Rainbow Wave Hits Midwest

Republicans and Democrats: LGBTQ Acceptance

HRC: Important Moments for LGBTQ Progress



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