Metro Weekly

Pennsylvania candidate becomes first nonbinary person elected to a judicial position in the United States

Xander Orenstein cruises to victory after a contentious primary that they won by only 40 votes.

Xander Orenstein – Photo: Facebook.

A Pennsylvania candidate for magistrate won their election on Tuesday, becoming the first nonbinary person elected to a judicial position in the United States.

Xander Orenstein, who won their race for the Allegheny County Magisterial District Court with over 95% of the vote, had previously defeated an incumbent in the primary election earlier this year by just 40 votes.

Orenstein, a housing activist and scientist by training who describes themselves as “progressive,” campaigned on the importance of combating poverty and injustice, emphasizing the role that judges could play in stemming evictions and exacerbating homelessness. They also criticized their primary opponent for failing to pursue diversion programs for low-level offenders and advocated for bail reform.

LGBTQ Victory Fund, which advocates for increased LGBTQ representation in elected positions, celebrated Orenstein’s historic win. Currently, there are only nine out nonbinary elected officials in the nation, and prior to Orenstein, none had been elected to a judicial position.

“LGBTQ people — and especially trans and nonbinary people — often face discrimination in the court system, so Xander shattering this judicial barrier is a milestone moment for our community,” Annise Parker, the president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement.

“A court system that is representative of all Americans is essential for fairness and equitable justice, with judges who have the lived experiences of those whose fates they decide,” added Parker. “Xander is now a trailblazer in our community’s efforts to diversify the bench with more non-binary people and we know Xander will inspire others to run and win.”

See also:

Anti-LGBTQ Republicans sweep all three statewide races in Virginia, seize control of House of Delegates

Supreme Court declines to hear Catholic hospital’s appeal of transgender patient’s lawsuit

High school survey asks if “queers” should use bathrooms with “normal people”

Leave a Comment:

Support Metro Weekly’s Journalism

These are challenging times for news organizations. And yet it’s crucial we stay active and provide vital resources and information to both our local readers and the world. So won’t you please take a moment and consider supporting Metro Weekly with a membership? For as little as $5 a month, you can help ensure Metro Weekly magazine and remain free, viable resources as we provide the best, most diverse, culturally-resonant LGBTQ coverage in both the D.C. region and around the world. Memberships come with exclusive perks and discounts, your own personal digital delivery of each week’s magazine (and an archive), access to our Member's Lounge when it launches this fall, and exclusive members-only items like Metro Weekly Membership Mugs and Tote Bags! Check out all our membership levels here and please join us today!

  • Scene