The latest Out on the Trail report from the LGBTQ Victory Fund shows the LGBTQ+ community is seeing record representation in the electoral process this year. But, while the numbers are encouraging for most segments of the community, there are some causes for concern.
“This report will show that LGBTQ candidates are significantly more diverse than the overall candidate population, but that we have work to do to ensure LGBTQ candidates are as diverse as America,” Mayor Annnise Parker, president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement accompanying the report.
The report found 1,006 LGBTQ+ candidates have run for office in 2020, an astounding 41 percent increase from 2018. As of now 574 LGBTQ+ candidates are still on the ballot for November, a 33 percent increase from this time in 2018.
People of color are also seeing an increase in electoral representation overall. The number of LGBTQ+ men of color is now roughly proportional to the U.S. population for men of color. Unfortunately, representation for LGBTQ+ women of color in elections is roughly half their number in the general population.
New York is home to two of these queer candidates of color. Afro-Latinx Ritchie Torres beat homophobic and transphobic Trump supporter Ruben Diaz, Sr., in the Democratic primary to represent New York’s 15th congressional district. Black queer Democratic candidate Mondaire Jones is running for the 17th congressional district. Both men are expected to win in next month’s general election, meaning they would make history as Black queer men in congress.
There were mixed results for the transgender, nonbinary, and genderqueer communities. Transgender candidates saw a significant 29 percent drop from the 2018, with 34 trans candidates down from 47. However, genderqueer and nonbinary candidates rose from 4 to 17, an astounding 325 percent increase.
One of those four candidates was Rosemary Ketchum. She was elected in June represent to Ward 3 on the Wheeling City Council in West Virginia. Ketchum is the first out trans elected official in the state’s history.
The report also found a disparity in LGBTQ+ candidates when comparing individual states. California, Texas, and Florida have the highest number of queer candidates running this year. Not unsurprisingly, Alabama ranks last in the country with zero LGBTQ+ candidates competing for office.
Overall, the report found 100% increase in bisexual candidates between 2018 and 2020 (from 39 to 78), a 21% increase in gay men (332 to 401), and a 6% increase in lesbian candidates (192 to 204).