The 2018 mid-term elections were billed as one of the most important in history, particularly for the LGBTI community.
Two years ago, Republican candidate Donald Trump won the Presidency and Republicans took control of both houses of the legislature — the House of Representatives and the Senate.
On Tuesday (6 November), all 435 seats in the House of Representatives were contested. So were 35 Senate seats, and 39 governorships.
Tuesday’s vote was also viewed as a referendum on Donald Trump and his Republican party. Trump’s presidency has been divisive. He’s been criticized for anti-LGBTI policies.
Equality advocates have been campaigning hard for the Democrats to take back the legislative houses, hoping for a so-called ‘blue wave’.
There have also been a record number of LGBTI politicians on the ballots.
But, what actually happened?
The Democrats took the House of Representatives
Major US media report that the Democrats have won the 23 votes they needed to win control of the House of Representatives.
A Democrat majority in the House for the first time in eight years is a significant blow to Trump and the Republicans.
The Republicans have, however, regained control of the Senate.
Once new lawmakers are sworn into Congress in January, Democrats will be able to block Republican legislation.
They will also hope to make headway on the Equality Act bill, guaranteeing LGBTI and women’s rights nationwide.
Democrats will also be able to launch investigations into the Trump administration. This includes the controversial 2016 election and Trump’s business affairs.
Without control of the Senate, however, Democrats will have a hard time to introduce and pass their own legislation.
LGBTI candidates won big
More LGBTI candidates than ever were elected into office on Tuesday. It’s been dubbed a ‘rainbow wave’.
Josh Teranio became the first openly gay executive elected on Guam. He and his running mate Lou Leon Guerrero ended 16 years of Republican governorship on the island.
Tammy Baldwin, who became the US’s first openly LGBTI senator when she was first elected, won her re-election bid in Wisconsin, defeating Republican Leah Vukmir in Tuesday’s election.
Oregon re-elected Democrat Kate Brown as Governor. In February 2015, she became the nation’s first openly bisexual governor.
LGBTI Angie Craig beat ousted Republican Jason Lewis in Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. Craig becomes the first openly LGBTI person elected to the U.S. Congress from Minnesota and the first openly LGBTI mother in Congress.
Massachusetts re-elected the U.S.’s first openly gay attorney general, Maura Healey.
Chris Pappas will become New Hampshire’s first openly gay member of Congress after defeating Republican Eddie Edwards.
Openly gay father of three Sean Patrick Maloney won New York’s 18th congressional district election.
Other winning LGBTI candidates included Jennifer Webb, Nickie Antonio, Gina Ortiz Jones and Gabriel Acevero.
Final results in California, where bisexual Katie Hill hopes to unseat anti-LGBTI Republican Steve Knight, had not yet been called.
Wins for LGBTI rights
It was not just elected officials on the ballots in the US.
Residents voted on whether or not they wanted to repeal Senate Bill 2407.
The law prohibits discrimination in areas of public accommodation on the basis of gender identity. The Yes vote won with 68% of the vote, while the No vote earned 32% of the vote.
Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr. beat Republican Davis 4,210 votes to 3,566 votes for the position of Rowan County clerk.
Davis made headlines around the world in August 2015 when she was briefly jailed for refusing to issue a marriage license to a gay couple in Kentucky.
There were other big wins for human rights.
Florida voted to restore voting rights to people who have served time in jail. Colorado voted to abolish prison slavery.