The new US congress will be the queerest in history after these LGBT+ trailblazers shattered the rainbow ceiling
The new US congress will have more LGBT+ house representatives and senators than ever before, and will also have record numbers of women and Black people.
Nine LGBT+ house representatives and two queer senators will take their seats when the new congress session begins January 2021. A total of 11 openly LGBT+ congresspeople, this is the most in US history.
According to NBC News, six of the seven queer house representatives who were running for reelection – all Democrats – have already won their seats: David Cicilline in Rhode Island, Chris Pappas in New Hampshire, Mark Pocan in Wisconsin, Angie Craig in Minnesota, Mark Takano in California and Sharice Davids in Kansas. Davids was also the first openly gay Native American elected to congress in 2018.
The seventh, Sean Patrick Maloney in New York, is still up against his opponent as there are still absentee ballots that need to be counted, but he is leading the race.
Additionally, New York Democrats and non-incumbents Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres became the first out LGBT+ Black and Afro-Latinx members of congress respectively. Torres is also the first-ever openly LGBT+ congressperson from New York City.
Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, said that Torres and Jones had “shattered a rainbow ceiling”, and added: “As our nation grapples with racism, police brutality and a pandemic that disproportionately affects people of color and LGBTQ people, these are the voices that can pull us from the brink and toward a more united and fair society.”
But LGBT+ representation is not the only way the next congress will be the most diverse in history.
As well as record numbers of LGBT+ congresspeople, there will also be a record number of women and a record number of Black people in congress in 2021, surpassing both records in 2019 according to The Hill. Exact numbers are not yet known because of uncalled races.
In the house, there will be at least 24 Black women, all Democrats, surpassing the record of 22 in 2019.
Two representatives, Cori Bush in Missouri and Marilyn Strickland in Washington state, became the first Black women to ever represent their states in congress. Strickland has also become the first Korean-American woman ever elected to congress.