With millions of votes yet to be counted across the country, the results of the 2020 elections have yet to be determined — leaving an unnerved nation even further on edge. Cooler minds are urging patience, as advocates continue to demand that every vote counts. The path to victory for Vice President Joe Biden, who ran a thoroughly pro-LGBTQ campaign, is still very viable, and we shouldn’t give up hope on that outcome.
Even if Biden wins, for many LGBTQ people — along with communities of color, immigrants, women, and many others who have suffered under a torrent of attacks under this President and his Republican allies — the victory may still feel somewhat hollow. It’s painful to witness millions of people in this country cast votes that, for us, translate into direct attacks on our lives and families.
But let’s also remember this — MOST votes cast last night, in an election that shattered turnout totals in states across the country — were cast in favor of pro-LGBTQ candidates. This is true in the presidential race, as well as those down ballot. And while we may not be in for the blowout Biden landslide many of us were hoping for, there were many resounding victories we should be celebrating today — LGBTQ candidates across the country won big, even in some surprising places, like Kansas and Tennessee.
Here are some of our historic victories from last night according to the Victory Fund:
- Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres both won their race for the U.S. House of Representatives, making them the first two openly LGBTQ Black members of Congress.
- Sarah McBride won her election for the Delaware state Senate — making her the first out transgender person ever elected to a state senate seat anywhere in the United States.
- David Ortiz won his election, making him the first bisexual candidate elected to the Colorado state legislature. He’s also advocate for the disability community, and will be the first wheelchair used elected to the legislature.
- Stephanie Byers became the first out transgender person ever elected to the Kansas state House, and the first out trans person of color ever elected to a state legislature in the U.S.
- Mauree Turner won their race for the Oklahoma state House, becoming the first openly non-binary person ever elected to a state legislature in the United States. Currently there are just four out genderqueer or non-binary-identified elected officials serving in the entire country. There are currently just five openly LGBTQ elected officials serving in all Oklahoma.
- Torrey Harris and Eddie Mannis won their elections for the Tennessee state House, making them the first two openly LGBTQ people ever elected to the Tennessee state legislature. A third race with Brandon Thomas, another openly LGBTQ state House candidate, is still undecided.
We have every reason to be on edge today. The vote tallies trickling in will impact everything from the future of our healthcare to whether trans people can serve openly in the military. But I hope you’ll join me in taking a break from doom scrolling on social media, and incessantly refreshing election forecasts, to celebrate these important victories. Regardless of what happens, the LGBTQ community continues to gain representation, and power, across the country — in states both Red and Blue