American Voters Say No to Trump’s Anti-LGBTQ agenda

November 8, 2017

By Arielle Gordon, News & Rapid Response Intern

GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today congratulated the five LGBTQ leaders voted into office during yesterday’s election. Their victories show a tremendous ability to overcome discrimination and thrive in the face of adversity. Yesterday’s events are a great triumph not only for these leaders, but for the states that they represent, the LGBTQ community, and the nation as a whole.

"Last night was a victory for so many remarkable LGBTQ candidates, but it was also a victory for inclusion and acceptance," said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “This is a clear repudiation of President Trump’s hate-fueled politics of bullying and browbeating. Yesterday, Americans took to the polls and chose optimism, hope, and new leadership – and this is only the beginning of our resistance.”

In Seattle, WA, Jenny Durkan has been elected as the city’s first openly lesbian mayor, and its first female mayor since the 1920s. Nationwide, she is only the second openly lesbian mayor of a major city. As U.S. attorney, Durkan fought for the protection of civil rights through reforms in the Seattle Police Department. One of Jenny’s most notable campaign promises has been dubbed her “Seattle Promise,” in which plans to guarantee all high school graduates living in Seattle two years free tuition to a community or technical college.

In Virginia, Danica Roem will become the state’s first out transgender legislator. Roem claimed this historic, groundbreaking victory against anti-LGBTQ demagogue Bob Marshall who earlier this year presented the Physical Privacy Act, a bill that would have restricted transgender people in Virginia from using bathrooms of the gender with which they identify. On the campaign trail, Marshall repeatedly misgendered Roem and continued to spew anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, but Roem remained focused on her central campaign issues instead of returning fire. In a statement, Sarah Kate Ellis denounced the misgendering of Roem, calling it "inhumane and flat out un-American." In a race with candidates so opposed on LGBTQ issues, the significance of the choice of the Virginian people to elect the candidate championing LGBTQ rights cannot be overstated.

Minneapolis, MN made history last night with the election of Andrea Jenkins to Minneapolis City Council Ward 8. This victory is triply significant because Jenkins, a transgender woman of color, faces three intersecting forms of oppression - sexism, racism, and transphobia. In the face of great adversity, Jenkins claimed victory with 73% of the vote. Jenkins is an accomplished Oral Historian, most notably working on the University of Minnesota’s Transgender Oral History Project. The aim of this project is to empower transgender individuals, whose voices are often missing from historical documentation, to tell their stories.

In Doraville, GA, Stephe Koontz, a candidate endorsed by Georgia Equality, made history as the first out transgender woman elected to Doraville City Council. Living in a state that is extremely politically conservative, Koontz’s election to city council is indicative of growing acceptance for the LGBTQ community in Georgia. She holds a progressive vision for the city, and her victory provides evidence that the people of her district are aligned with that vision.

Last night, the Milford, PA borough council appointed Sean Strub, as their mayor. Strub, a gay man born in Iowa City, Iowa, is an accomplished writer and activist. He is the director of The Sero Project, a national network of individuals living with HIV who work to fight against stigma and injustice. Additionally, Strub is the founder of POZ magazine, a publication that provides daily news, treatment information, and other resources and information that may be helpful to individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

Congratulations to these individuals for their accomplishments, and may future elections bring even more LGBTQ politicians to office. Today is truly an amazing moment in our nation’s LGBTQ history.