Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Number of LGBTQ elected officials jumps nearly 200% since 2017, report finds

By 37ci3 Jun26,2024

The number of LGBTQ people winning elected office has increased nearly 200% since 2017, according to a study released Wednesday and first reported by NBC News.

The LGBTQ+ Victory Institute, which works to increase queer and transgender representation in public service, found that there were 1,303 LGBTQ elected officials as of May, a 10% increase from 1,185 officials last year and a 190.8% increase from 448 officials in 2017. the last annual report of the organization “We left for America” report.

For the first time in the report, every state and Washington have at least one LGBTQ elected official.

“LGBTQ people are running in historic numbers right now, and we’re winning,” said Elliot Imse, executive director of the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute.

However, Imse noted that LGBTQ people are still underrepresented in public service. A March Gallup poll The Victory Institute report says that 7.6% of the US population is LGBTQ and there are 519,682 elected positions, meaning the country needs to elect 38,193 more LGBTQ officials to achieve equitable representation.

“The representation gap is so big that we need a moonshot to close it, and that’s more important than ever given all the attacks on our communities from state legislatures and city councils across the country,” Imse said.

The country has seen a wave of state legislation targeting the LGBTQ community in recent years, particularly transgender youth, with each year surpassing the previous year’s record. As of this June, state legislators have introduced 523 such bill — including restrictions on transition health care for minors, transgender student participation in school sports, and how LGBTQ issues can be discussed in schools — total 510 in 2023According to the American Civil Liberties Union.

While representation of LGBTQ people overall has increased, the report found that for the first time since 2017, the number of transgender officials fell from 50 last year to 47 this year.

Imse said he was “concerned” that the number of trans elected officials was declining but also trans elected officials and trans people generally faced more hostility, although the report did not assess whether hostility led to fewer trans people running for or holding office.

Despite a decline in the number of trans elected officials over the past year, the total number of trans, non-binary, two-spirit, and gender nonconforming individuals serving in elected office has increased by 1,633% since 2017, from 6 to 104.

The number of non-gender non-conforming, non-binary or genderqueer elected officials increased from none in 2017 to 57 in 2024. Since last year alone, the number of non-binary officers has increased by 70%, from 23 to 39.

For the first time, the report found that less than half (48.2%) of LGBTQ elected officials were gay. The number of self-identified pansexual officials increased by 28.6%, queer by 23.1% and bisexual by 20.7%, and the number of lesbian elected officials increased by 8.3%.

The number of Black, Latino, and Asian American and Pacific Islander LGBTQ elected officials increased 17%, compared to a 9.3% increase for white LGBTQ elected officials.

Imse, for example, suggests that the sharp increase in non-binary elected officials will make voters more likely to support candidates with diverse identities.

“While many people still don’t fully understand sexual orientation and gender identity, it’s a very encouraging message to see them stressing its importance when electing their elected officials and being more willing to consider it. for standing up for people.”

The number of LGBTQ elected officials has more than doubled since 2017, the report found
Senator John Fredrickson of Nebraska, pictured at the Lincoln State Capitol on February 8, 2023, is the first openly gay man elected to the Nebraska Legislature.Margery A. Beck / AP file

Imse added that the data doesn’t show the impact LGBTQ officers have in their communities. He pointed to Sen. John Fredrickson, a Democrat from Nebraska gave an emotional speech in April against a bill that would bar transgender students from using school facilities that match their gender identity and restrict their participation on school sports teams.

The bill needed 33 votes to get out of committee. After Fredrickson’s speech, the bill’s two co-sponsors, Republicans abstained from votingbringing the final tally to 31-15 and effectively killing the bill.

As the first openly gay man elected to the Nebraska Legislature, Fredrickson said he never wanted his legacy to be about his identity.

“I come into office at a time when we’ve seen an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced, and I feel a high level of responsibility to my community to speak the truth in these spaces,” Fredrickson said in an email. “Honestly, it hasn’t always been easy and it’s taken its toll on me and my family. So, I go to bed every night knowing who I am, knowing my community and knowing that I’m on the right side of history, and that’s an honor.”

Fredrickson encouraged LGBTQ people interested in running for office to do so.

“Without being in these rooms, we run the risk that the conversation will continue to be about us, not with us,” he said.

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