Shevrin Jones and Michele Rayner-Goolsby: Florida just elected two ‘unapologetic’ Black queer lawmakers
Florida has made history by electing two Black queer politicians, Shevrin Jones and Michele Rayner-Goolsby, to serve in the state legislature.
With national results from Tuesday’s election still coming in, Florida has proved a disappointment for Joe Biden’s hopes of claiming a swift win in the Presidential race.
Shevrin Jones has ‘shattered barriers’ for LGBT+ candidates in Florida
However, there was good news in the state lower down the ballot, with Shevrin Jones becoming the first out LGBT+ person ever elected to the state senate, claiming victory in his race in Miami-Dade’s safely Democratic 35th district. Jones did not face a Republican in the race, but previously triumphed over anti-LGBT+ opponents in the Democratic primary who had attempted to leverage his sexuality against him.
Jones, who has served in the state house of representatives since 2012, came out as gay in 2018, explaining he had decided to tart living his truth “just a little bit more” after the death of his older brother. He has since become a powerful voice for LGBT+ rights in Florida.
Jones said: “I’m humbled to have earned the trust of the people of SD 35. I am looking forward to serving you in the Florida Senate. Thank YOU! #WEthePEOPLE”
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Annise Parker of LGBTQ Victory Fund said: “Shevrin shattered a long-standing political barrier for LGBTQ candidates in Florida and his victory will resonate far beyond the boundaries of his state.
“Shevrin will be one of just two Black gay men serving in state senates and his victory is certain to inspire more Black LGBTQ leaders to step up and run themselves. The politics of division and hatred failed in this race and gave way to a government that is more representative of the people it serves.”
‘Unapologetic’ Black queer woman Michele Rayner-Goolsby elected to Florida house
At the same time, Michele Rayner-Goolsby – who describes herself as an “unapologetic” Black queer woman – will become the first our LGBT+ woman to serve in the Florida house of representatives. She did not face an opponent in the general election after her triumph in a competitive Democratic primary.
Rayner-Goolsby said ahead of polling day: “Y’all. It just hit me. I’m the first openly Black queer women ever elected in Florida-at any level.
“Our team was led by a Black woman. It was anchored by women and women of colour. We won because we defined ourselves for ourselves. Brb- I’m crying now.”