Despite the fact that homophobic and generally anti-LGBTQ attitudes are constantly intensify across the United States, more and more LGBTQ people are winning elected offices.
According to the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s “Out for America” 2022 study, there are 1,043 publicly LGBTQ elected officials in the United States. The organization, which is dedicated to promoting LGBTQ representation in government, notes that this is a significant milestone: the first time in history that over 1,000 LGBTQ people have been serving in elective office simultaneously. But while this news may be encouraging, LGBTQ people are still not adequately represented within the political system.
According to the LGTL Victory Institute, LGBTQ people comprise 7.1% of the total U.S. population, but only 0.2% of all elected officials. In order to resolve that discrepancy, 35,854 more public officials would have to be elected to office.
While electing over 35,000 more LGBTQ representatives is a daunting task, the progression made from when the LGBTQ Victory Institute first began publishing these reports in 2017 is encouraging. Five years ago, the institute reported that only 448 LGBTQ people were serving in public office. This year’s milestone means that the number of LGBTQ elected officials has more than doubled since that time.
More LGBTQ people also appear to be running for office — providing greater odds of winning. From 2021 to 2022, the number of LGBTQ candidates seeking office grew by 6 percent.
“LGBTQ elected officials are on the front lines of defending our rights and freedoms, which are under threat at every level of government,” Annise Parker, the president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement. “Despite the fact the LGBTQ community has never had equitable representation in government — and we still have a long way to go — there are clear signs of progress.”
The milestone also demonstrates that many Americans are not necessarily hostile towards being represented by an LGBTQ person. Despite several Republican-led states successfully passing anti-LGBTQ or anti-transgender policies into law — which could lead some to believe that voters in those states hold anti-LGBTQ attitudes — there are at least 300 LGBTQ elected officials in so-called “red” or “purple” states that are either reliably Republican or are closely contested by both parties.
According to the report, there are 45 transgender elected officials in the United States, a 9.8% increase from five years ago. Nonbinary and genderqueer officials increased by one-third over that time period to 12. Bisexual elected officials have increased by 26.8%, with 90 total in the United States, while the number of out lesbian elected officials decreased slightly over that same time period. While 10 states have fewer out LGBTQ elected officials than in 2021, 22 states currently have more LGBTQ officials than they did last year.
The study also showed that, from 2021 to 2022, the number of LGBTQ elected officials of color increased by 12.3 percent. Among the groups showing the largest increase in LGBTQ representation was the Asian-Pacific Islander community, which has increased by 19.2% over the past five years, growing to 31 in total.
“LGBTQ elected officials represent the strength and diversity of not only who we are as a society now, but also the America we aspire to build for future generations,” Parker said.
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