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A Bunch of Lesbians Won Their Elections Last Night

Lori Lightfoot wins election, becoming first openly lesbian and first Black mayor of Chicago — but local activists aren't celebrating.

The victories have raised important questions about identity, policy, and what LGBTQ+ representation means at any level of government.

Lori Lightfoot won her election on Tuesday, but not everyone is celebrating.

The former federal prosecutor beat Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle in Chicago's mayoral runoff election, securing nearly 75 percent of the vote, The Washington Bladereports. Lightfoot's win makes her the first Black woman and the first openly gay person of any gender to serve as Chicago's mayor. Chicago is now the largest city in the United States to have had an openly gay executive leading its government.

"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 Annise Parker, the Director of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund who previously served as the Mayor of Houston, in a statement to the Blade. "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."

Openly gay candidates saw similar victories elsewhere in the Midwest. Satya Rhodes-Conway became the first openly gay mayor in Madison city history, The Wisconsin State Journalreports, and Jolie Justus won her mayoral primary in Kansas City, Mo., per local news outlet 41 Action News. If she wins the general election in June, she'll be the first openly LGBTQ+ mayor of that city.

Queer media and LGBTQ+ nonprofits have largely celebrated the "historic" nature of Lightfoot's win, hailing the "rainbow wave" sweeping the Midwest, but many local organizers are worried.

"Do Chicago a favor and save all excited posts and articles about our next mayor being [a] Black lesbian," tweeted Charlene Carruthers, the National Director of the Black Youth Project 100. "[Lightfoot] loves and has worked to protect the very systems that suck resources and harm our communities."

Carruthers, whom Outfeatured in our Women & Nonbinary Femmes issue in a spread highlighting "The Mothers and Daughters of the Movement," shared a link to a website called, which argues that behind Lightfoot's progressive facade lies a pro-police, pro-criminalization candidate with "a track record of blatantly disrespecting families lost to police violence and Black Lives Matter activists."

"This is not a victory for LGBTQ people," Carruthers continued. "We are going to have to fight the Lori Lightfoot administration tooth and nail."

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