Now Reading
US sees first trans state senator and victories for LGBT+ people of color

US sees first trans state senator and victories for LGBT+ people of color

  • There is a 2020 ‘rainbow wave’ but the presidential election result remains on a knife-edge.
Sarah McBride gives her victory speech.

LGBT+ Americans have at least something to celebrate tonight after the country gained its first trans state senator alongside a series of victories for out candidates.

However the world’s eyes are on the remaining swing states in the presidential election. The race to the White House is still far too close to call.

Much of the global attention is focused on the battle between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

But the elections also saw a series of important local and state races, as well as a fight for the US House of Representatives and Senate.

And in one historic victory, Sarah McBride in Delaware has become the first openly trans state senator in US history. When sworn in, she will become the nation’s highest-ranking, openly trans, elected official

Meanwhile Richie Torres will become the first Afro-Latino gay man and Mondaire Jones, the first black gay man, elected to Congress. Both will represent New York districts in the US House of Representatives.

Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO of LGBT+ organization GLAAD, heralded the ‘rainbow wave’ of victories:

‘Tonight’s wins for LGBTQ people of color and transgender Americans across the country are historic and long overdue.

‘Their victories represent a leap forward for LGBTQ acceptance and a demand for more of the progress and equality that their very presence demonstrates. We can’t wait to see them shine in their new roles.’

LGBT+ victors

Alongside McBride, Torres and Jones, a number of other LGBT+ candidates have already won their races. They include:

Michelle Rayner and Shevin Jones: The first out black members of the Florida state House and Senate.

Taylor Small: Vermont’s first openly transgender state legislator.

Representative Sharice Davids: The first openly LGBT+ Native American elected to Congress in 2018, won re-election to represent Kansas in the US House.

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara: The first openly gay county commissioner in Buncombe County Commissioner, North Carolina, won re-election.

State Representative Brianna Titone: Colorado’s first openly transgender lawmaker, was re-elected to the state House of Representatives, overcoming transphobic campaign adverts.

Stephanie Byers: Becomes the first trans person of color elected to a state legislature, in Kansas. She is Native American.

LGBT+ campaingers knew about at least 312 out candidates on the November ballot. Of those, at least 35 have won so far. Meanwhile activists’ eyes are particularly focused on races in Michigan, Texas and California which could still generate more important victories.

Battle for the White House

Meanwhile, the national picture is still not clear at this stage.

In the presidential race, Biden is currently on 238 electoral college votes against Trump’s 213, with 270 the crucial number to win.

Hopes of a Biden landslide took an early beating when Trump won the key swing states of Florida and then Ohio. However, Biden bounced back later in the night with a victory in Arizona. 

All attention is on Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan and – more than any – Pennsylvania.

At the moment, Biden has a wider path to the White House than Trump. But the president is already vowing to take the battle to the Supreme Court and has even called on the authorities to stop counting legitimate ballots in Pennsylvania.

Away from the presidential race, the Democrats have retained control of the House of Representatives. Meanwhile the Democrats and Republicans are equally tied in the US Senate, with 47 seattles each and 51 needed to win.