GLAAD HIGHLIGHTS LGBTQ VICTORY FUND REPORT WITH NEW FINDINGS ON LGBTQ REPRESENTATION IN ELECTORAL POLITICS

October 26, 2021

 

GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, and the LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national  organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ people, highlight new findings that show an exponential increase in LGBTQ representation in electoral politics—with the number of out LGBTQ candidates running for office at the local, state, and federal level continuing to grow and to diversify year over year.

LGBTQ Victory Fund’s new Out On The Trail report, released today and available to read here, shows an increase in out LGBTQ candidates since 2019, the last odd-numbered election. At least 410 out LGBTQ candidates ran in 2021, a 7 percent increase from 2019. Candidates ran in 39 states, in races across every region of the country.

Out LGBTQ candidates are becoming more diverse than ever before:

  • Compared to 2019, the number of out Black LGBTQ candidates saw a 55% increase, from 47 candidates in 2019 to 73 this year.
  • The number of out LGBTQ Asian and Pacific Islander candidates more than doubled, going from 5 to 12.
  • Compared to 2019, the number of candidates who identify as queer more than doubled, from 25 to 62.
  • The number of genderqueer and nonbinary candidates more than tripled compared to 2019, going from 5 to 18. That’s an increase of 260%.
  • The number of trans men running for office doubled compared to 2019, going from 3 to 6. The number of trans women running for office increased as well, from 16 to 20.

Out LGBTQ candidates are running for office in every region of the U.S.:

  • In 2021, LGBTQ candidates ran or are running in 39 states, representing every region. Endorsed Victory Fund candidates can be searched by state here.
  • The states with the highest number of LGBTQ candidates in 2021 were New York (50), Massachusetts (39), Pennsylvania (26), Ohio (23), Georgia (23), New Jersey (22), Washington (21) and Illinois (18).
  • LGBTQ candidates ran or are running across the majority of the U.S. South this year, running in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Florida
  • 49 U.S. states now have at least one out LGBTQ elected official. The only state in the country that does not currently have at least one LGBTQ official is Mississippi. Currently serving LGBTQ elected officials can be searched by state here (as well as by sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity, office level, and party affiliation.)

The increased representation in electoral politics parallels increased LGBTQ representation in other areas of public life as well, as monitored by GLAAD research:

  • FILM: GLAAD’s 2021 Studio Responsibility Index found the number of LGBTQ characters in major studio films increased by 4.1%, with a 6% increase in LGBTQ characters of color.
  • TELEVISION: GLAAD’s 2021 Where We Are On TV report also found a record high of LGBTQ characters of color on television; nearly half of all LGBTQ TV characters (46%) were people of color, with racial diversity of LGBTQ charcters increasing across primetime, cable, and streaming platforms.
  • ADVERTISING: GLAAD and P&G’s 2020 study LGBTQ Inclusion in Advertising and Media found that 52% of non-LGBTQ people had been exposed to LGBTQ people in advertising, and also found that exposure to LGBTQ people in media led to higher rates of acceptance.

Growing LGBTQ representation parallels the growth of the LGBTQ population in the United States, which a 2021 Gallup poll found rose to 5.6% of adults, up from 4.5% in 2017. More young people identify as LGBTQ than ever before: 15.9% of Gen Z (born 1997-2002.) These numbers show the importance of continuing to reflect and represent LGBTQ people across all arenas, from media and politics to corporate leadership.

QUOTE FROM SARAH KATE ELLIS, PRESIDENT & CEO OF GLAAD: 

“LGBTQ equality depends on having a seat at the table, whether that table is located in a state legislature, a Hollywood film studio, or a corporate boardroom. But the number of out LGBTQ elected officials is still nowhere near the numbers required to accurately represent the size of the community, and LGBTQ candidates often face obstacles like negative media coverage and attempts to disparage them based on their identity during their campaigns. The rising number of LGBTQ people running for office is an opportunity for improvement in media coverage of the community, and a sign of increasing LGBTQ representation overall." 

QUOTE FROM MAYOR ANNISE PARKER, PRESIDENT & CEO OF LGBTQ VICTORY FUND:

“LGBTQ people are running for office in historic numbers and when elected they transform governments and communities. While the growth in LGBTQ candidates is encouraging, America must still elect 28,000 more LGBTQ elected officials to achieve equitable representation. We need more LGBTQ people to run because when they are in positions of power, they transform the debate, change hearts and minds, and advance more inclusive policies and legislation.” 

The 2021 ‘Out On The Trail’ report can be found here.

About LGBTQ Victory Fund: LGBTQ Victory Fund works to achieve and sustain equality by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government while ensuring they reflect the diversity of those they serve.Visit victoryfund.org to learn more.