Progressive Democrat Mckayla Wilkes, fighting to unseat house leader Steny Hoyer, comes out as bisexual
Progressive Democrat Mckayla Wilkes came out as bisexual while announcing that she will challenge House majority leader Steny Hoyler for his seat representing Maryland’s 5th district for a second time.
Wilkes tried to unseat Hoyer, one of the most powerful Democrats in the US, in the 2020 primary, coming second with 27 per cent to his 64 per cent – earning more votes than any previous challenger.
Hoyer is currently serving his 20th term in Congress and has been Wilkes’ own representative for her entire life. She’s ready for change, and that starts with being out and proud about her sexuality.
In an exclusive interview with LGBTQ Nation, Wilkes spoke about why she felt it was important to be open about her sexuality during this campaign. She said: “It’s essential for me personally to be able to live 100 per cent my truth.
“But I also hope to have a broader conversation around heteronormativity.”
It's official! I'm launching my ‘22 campaign for Congress in MD-05.
Steny Hoyer has been my congressman my whole life.
In 2020, we came closer than any primary challenger has in 40 years and won the in-person vote.
Join us – because it's time for some damn change. pic.twitter.com/daF8UESXyz
— Mckayla Wilkes for MD-05 (@MeetMckayla) February 11, 2021
She shared with the LGBT+ news site her struggles with being incarcerated at 24 for driving on a suspended license because she couldn’t afford to pay her parking tickets. Wilkes also spoke during her campaign about being arrested for marijuana possession at 20 and having an abortion as a teenager.
The congressional hopeful for Maryland shared how, throughout all of this, she found it frustrating that people assumed she was heterosexual, although she never addressed her sexuality.
“I remember being asked, as an ally of the community, what could you do… and in my head, I’m like, I’m part of that community,” Wilkes said.
She said she wasn’t ready to come out during her first campaign because she was “afraid of what people would say and the stigma”. But now, Wilkes said she no longer wants that fear to control her, adding she “got tired” of remaining in the closet to appease others.
Mckayla Wilkes has always been a staunch supporter of LGBT+ rights
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Wilkes has been a long-time supporter of equal rights for the LGBT+ community so she doesn’t think that her coming out will change her campaign. She described herself as “out, loud and proud” and hopes to be seen as a candidate who happens to be bisexual rather than letting that label define her.
Wilkes said she’s running with a focus on the same issues she campaigned for in her last campaign and added that her district needed something new. She said: “My congressman has been in office for almost 40 years, serving his 20th term, and I have never gotten a phone call, never gotten a test, never heard any mention of the issues that pertain to anyone in my community.”