The 2020 election is the scariest horror movie of the year. It feels like watching a car wreck in slow motion. Citizens of the US find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place: spending hours on social media to keep updated and seeking out distraction in attempts to remain calm.
Despite the horror, one can find a silver lining in the large influx of queer and POC women victoriously rising to positions of political power. “2018 was a rainbow wave,” Annise Parker, Victory Fund CEO and former Houston mayor, says. “2020 is a rainbow tsunami. The numbers have just kept growing.” Out of the 1,000 LGBT+ people who ran this year– an all-time high– over half advanced to the general election ballots.
Across the board, numerous historical “firsts” were achieved. (Quick round of applause, please!) This article will concentrate on some of the female and non-binary progressives currently celebrating their victories, including but not limited to the following:
Sarah McBride has become the first openly transgender person to become a state senator, winning in Delaware. She got into politics by interning at the White House during Obama’s presidency. “I’m not running to make history or headlines,” she says. “I’m running to make a difference in my community.” She hopes her victory shows the LGBT+ youth that “democracy is big enough for them, too.“
Michelle Rayner-Goolsby is the first Black LGBT+ female state legislator in Florida. In a heartfelt tweet after her victory, she said: “Our team was led by a Black woman. It‘s anchored by women and women of color. We won because we defined ourselves for ourselves.”
Taylor Small, at the age of only 26, declared a victory in Vermont. She became Vermont’s first transgender state legislator and plans to use her platform for change and LGBT+ representation. She hopes that her victory can show young queer people that they also have the power to become leaders.
Before she was a legislator, Small was an active member of her local drag community. Under the persona Nikki Champagne, she has participated in both drag shows and community work. Champagne and her friend, Emoji Nightmare, traveled across Vermont holding events in public libraries. There, they would connect with children by reading them stories. Though a simple gesture, the duo hoped to help reach children who felt marginalized.
Kim Jackson is the the first Black queer woman elected to the Georgia state senate. In 2018, she was acknowledged by the Georgia House of Representatives for her “tireless efforts on behalf of the disenfranchised, disenchanted, and dispossessed.” “If my foot is in the door,” Jackson says, “Then I am prepared to push it wide open so that other queer folks can come and stand alongside me.” Her campaign centers an anti-discriminatory bill. It includes sexual orientation, gender, religion, and ability.
Mauree Turner broke a collection of records after becoming the first ever non-binary Muslim state lawmaker in the US. Their campaign centers around criminal justice reform and helping out local communities of color. Turner’s hope is to repair “an industrial prison complex that’s built on revenge and punishment rather than rehabilitation”.
Jabari Brisport is the first New York state senator to be a Black queer woman. Brisport says: “My first interaction with the NY State Senate was trying to get them to pass same sex marriage around 11 years ago. When it didn’t pass, I really felt like I wasn’t being seen as a person. I felt like I was a second class citizen. It’s important to me that people like me, other queer people of colour, feel like they’re seen and feel like they’re represented in NY politics.”
Cori Bush is the first Black woman to represent Missouri in Congress. She has been a Black Lives Matter veteran since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson (2014). On Twitter she says: “To all the counted outs, the forgotten–abouts, the marginalized, and the pushed asides. This is our moment. We came together to end a 52-year family dynasty. That’s how we build the political revolution.”
Susan Eggman is the first Latinx LGBT+ woman on California’s senate. Her platform consists of providing sustainable access to water, support for veterans, and more educational opportunities. Additionally, she works to help the homeless situation. She says: “Behind the homeless crisis, there are humans in crisis. With the crisis getting worse, we need to do more to get people off the streets. As your State Senator, I will.“
Stephanie Byers’s election to Kansas’s legislature makes her their first transgender person of color. She is a proud Native American and part of the Chickasaw Nation. Though she is excited to be able to stand for LGBT+ issues, she wants her audience to “understand there’s more subject here than just the LGBTQ issues that I would represent.”