Pride and Politics: Five LGBTQ+ Lawmakers Breaking Barriers
As the demographics of the United States continue to evolve, so does the composition of our government. The shift towards a more diverse and inclusive representation is growing, especially in the LGBTQ+ community, as the number of LGBTQ+ members of Congress tripled over the past decade, according to the Pew Research Center.
Today, we have two senators and 11 members of the House of Representatives proudly identifying as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. This growing presence of LGBTQ+ lawmakers reflects the changing landscape of our nation and signifies a progressive step towards embracing different voices and perspectives. Here is a list of some notable LGBTQ+ lawmakers in the United States who have been instrumental in creating a more inclusive and representative government that reflects the diverse populace it serves.
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Senator Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012, along with being the first openly gay person and the first woman elected to Congress from Wisconsin. Senator Baldwin co-founded the Congressional Equality Caucus with Representative Barney Frank and has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, introducing legislation to protect LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination, such as the Equality Act.
Mark Takano (D-CA)
Representative Mark Takano is the first openly gay person of color elected to Congress, serving California’s 41st congressional district since 2013. He has been a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and has supported legislation to protect transgender individuals and promote equality in education. Rep. Takano also serves as co-chair of the Congressional Equality Caucus, which advocates for LGBTQ+ rights and the repeal of laws that discriminate against LGBTQ+ persons.
Sharice Davids (D-KS)
Representative Sharice Davids is the first openly gay Native American woman elected to Congress and the first openly lesbian person elected to Congress from Kansas. She has supported legislation to protect LGBTQ+ rights, including measures to address discrimination in housing and public accommodations. Along with her legislative career, Rep. Davids is also a highly-trained martial arts practitioner who competed professionally in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).
Ritchie Torres (D-NY)
Representative Ritchie Torres is the youngest person ever elected to the New York City Council and one of the first openly gay Afro-Latino members of Congress, along with former New York Congressman Mondaire Jones. Rep. Torres has been a champion for LGBTQ+ rights and has supported legislation to protect transgender individuals from discrimination and promote LGBTQ+ equality, including opening the first homeless shelter for LGBTQ+ youth in the Bronx.
Angie Craig (D-MN)
Minnesota Representative Angie Craig is one of the first openly lesbian mothers elected to Congress. She has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and has supported legislation to protect LGBTQ+ youth and promote equality in healthcare. Her efforts include cosponsoring the Equality Act and the bipartisan Every Child Deserves a Family Act, which prohibits discrimination against LBGTQ adoptive parents and foster youth.
The contributions of these lawmakers extend beyond their identities, as they champion legislation that promotes civil rights, healthcare access, anti-discrimination measures, and more. With their dedication and determination, LGBTQ+ lawmakers are shaping our nation to be more diverse, accepting, and inclusive for all.