As Election Day looms closer and closer, it’s important to take a step back and realize some of the incredible gains that electoral politics have made in promoting LGBT equality. Only in recent history have candidates been able to safely come out—it’s no longer necessary for our elected officials to hide their true identities to be successfully elected by their constituency. This progress has been made not only in smaller, local campaigns but on a national scale, with Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Barney Frank (D-MA), and many other members of Congress running for their seats after breaking barriers to become the first generation of openly gay Representatives. In this year’s election cycle, there are eight openly LGBT candidates running for Congress, including the first Asian-American, Mark Takano, and the first openly bisexual candidate, Kyrsten Sinema. Also notable is House of Representatives Candidate Richard Tisei of Massachusetts, who is one the first openly gay members of the Republican party. This record number of openly gay candidates for federal office is truly inspiring—it shows that American’s are willing to accept their elected officials for who they are, and that being a member of the LGBT community can be considered an asset to governing, not a detriment.
A similar trend is happening among state and local races. In an incredible and notable first, in a race for Colorado State Senate, there are two openly gay candidates running against each other. There are also numerous other candidates across the nation who have been brave enough to publicly acknowledge their sexuality as they ask for American votes for various offices. We are proud to be part of a movement towards equality that has allowed every American, including those who run for office, to feel comfortable in voicing every part of their identity. A political candidate’s sexual orientation has absolutely no affect on their ability to govern and make successful, well-informed, productive decisions for their community, and this has become clear through the inspiring leadership of the first generation of openly LGBT candidates. Our election cycle in 2012 has seen a record number of candidates for office open about their sexuality, and we look forward to seeing that number rise in every future cycle.
Action Alert: The best way to show your support for openly LGBT candidates is to go VOTE. Election Day is on Tuesday, November 6th. Make sure you, your neighbors, family and friends all get out to the polls and support candidates who will push equality forward.