‘Urgency to run’: LGBTQ candidates make history in US midterms | US Midterm Elections 2022 News

At least 678 openly gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people will appear on the ballot in the United States in the upcoming midterm elections, a high number that comes as activists say a flood of federal laws has eroded men’s rights. or same-sex couples. .

Those running for the November election were among the 1,065 LGBTQ people who started running for office in 2022, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Voters will go to the polls on November 8 to decide who will be elected to the US House of Representatives and Senate, as well as governors and senators.

The president of the Victory Fund, Annise Parker, said that the number of LGBTQ people in the general election, which represents an increase of 18.1 percent from the 2020 election, creates the opportunity to “elect more LGBTQ people to work than ever before”.

“The authorities want us to stay home and keep quiet, but their backlash has inspired new LGBTQ leaders to challenge them,” he said in a statement. “Sitting on the sidelines is not an option when our freedom is at stake.”

Across the country, many LGBTQ voters have been emboldened by the recent spate of bills deemed anti-LGBTQ, with transgender rights in particular “used in recent years as an issue used to galvanize voters in the more conservative Republican Party.” ” , according to Gabriele Magni, assistant professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

“When we ask LGBTQ candidates why they are running for office, most say they feel they need to run to protect LGBTQ rights,” Magni told Al Jazeera.

Massachusetts Attorney General and Democratic presidential candidate Maura Healey [File: Mary Schwalm/The Associated Press]

“They know they have to be in positions of power at every level, including school boards, to make decisions about children and the possibility of disenfranchising young people,” Magni said.

Also Read :  US vows full military defense of allies against North Korea

Notables include Democrats Maura Healey and Tina Kotek, who are running for governor of Massachusetts and Oregon, respectively, and may become the first openly gay governors in US history.

Becca Belint is also slated to become the first LGBTQ person, and the first woman, to hold the only DRM seat in Vermont, while North Carolina, Oregon, Maryland and Illinois are among the states that will elect their first LGBTQ members to Congress.

In California, former Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia, who immigrated to the US from Peru as a child, is running to become the first LGBTQ immigrant elected to Congress in history. In Alaska, Andrew Gray is running to become the first LGBTQ state representative.

All told, at least 119 LGBTQ candidates ran for Congress during the midterms, 416 ran for state legislatures, 41 ran for public office, and 412 ran for posts and school boards, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Robert Garcia is running to become the first LGBTQ immigrant to the US Congress [Ashley Landis/The Associated Press]

In another political first in the country, two gay men in New York – Democrat Robert Zimmerman and Republican George Santos – are competing for an open seat in the US House. About 90 percent of LGBTQ candidates in the midterms ran as Democrats and about 4.5 percent of LGBTQ candidates ran as Republicans, according to the Victory Fund.

In an interview with the Washington Blade in September, Zimmerman said his experiences as a gay man in the US changed his political views, while Santos said his views on sexuality have nothing to do with what Americans care about, including the economy and crime.

“It’s great to see that the opportunities are equal for everyone in this country,” Santos told reporters, adding: “I think it’s shocking, especially with the real issues that are troubling our country right now. I’d rather talk about these issues all day long than talk about sex.” mine.”

However, the candidate’s rise came amid a surge in recent years of Republican-backed legislation that activists say restricts LGBTQ rights.

Also Read :  Walmart mass shooting: The motive behind the attack in Chesapeake, Virginia, is unclear

That includes 238 bills filed by state lawmakers in the first three months of 2022, according to an NBC News analysis of archives by the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Civil Liberties Union. This number represents a significant increase from 2018 when only 41 bills were introduced. About 191 bills were introduced in all of 2021, according to the analysis.

As of August, nearly 180 bills introduced in 2022 targeted the transgender community, according to the advocacy group GLAAD. The bills often seek to ban youth gender-affirming medical services, which the American Academy of Pediatrics calls “medically necessary and appropriate” and, in some cases, “life-saving.” Other laws sought to prevent transgender youth from playing on professional sports teams.

Other laws include Florida’s so-called “don’t say gay” law, which has banned teachers from discussing sexuality and gender identity in the classroom. Four other states have passed similar laws, which the Trevor Project, an anti-LGBTQ anti-suicide organization, has called “erasing young LGBTQ students” and countering research that shows open discussion of LGBTQ issues increases suicide attempts.

Also Read :  Colorado Springs shooting: Suspect faces murder and hate crime charges, court records show

The urgency has increased over fears that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade, which struck down federal abortion protections, could lead to a rollback in gay rights protections. In his opinion in the case, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas argued that Obergefell v Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage, was one of several cases that should be reheard based on the precedent used to overturn Roe.

Those decisions, he wrote in a non-binding opinion, “were wrong decisions”.

Florida 'don't say gay' bill
Protesters gather at Florida State Capitol to protest ‘don’t say gay’ law [File: Wilfredo Lee/The Associated Press]

Meanwhile, voters who identify as LGBTQ are expected to make up the largest percentage of voters in the coming years, rising from 11.3 percent nationwide in 2022 to 14 percent in 2030 and then nearly 18 percent by 2040, according to the study (PDF) released by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Bowling Green State University in Ohio in October.

This is especially evident in several popular states, including Georgia, Texas and Arizona.

In another twist, studies have shown that, in recent years, gay candidates have won as well as straight candidates in general elections, while gay candidates have won straight, according to Magni.

“I think this is a big change,” he told Al Jazeera. “Because conventional wisdom has long kept LGBTQ candidates out of favor because maybe a minority of voters would not be comfortable supporting these candidates”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button