Source: ABC News
This year in the United States, more than 90 candidates who identify as LGBTQ ran for Congress, more than ever in history and a 16% increase from the 2020 election. In North Carolina, over a dozen candidates ran in state and local races.
Over the past year, LGBTQ rights have been targeted across the country, with more than 300 anti-LGBTQ bills proposed in at least 28 states.
In June, North Carolina House Representatives passed House Bill 755, a bill that would erase LGBTQ voices from school curriculum, put a target on educators, and require mandatory reporting to parents if a student, regardless of grade, begins to question their sexual identity in school. The bill so far is stalled in the NC Senate due to a lack of Democrat support but could resurface if power dynamics shift in the NCGA.
The success of others combined with the current attacks on LGBTQ rights has created a kind of “perfect storm” motivating a record number of LGBTQ candidates to run in 2022.
One candidate in Tennessee, Odessa Kelly, running as a Democrat in the 7th congressional district spoke to ABC’s Good Morning America about her choice to run in the South. Kelly shared, “I’m here to show you a definition of the new South, and that’s one that is open to and accepting of members of the LGBTQ community, and to speak on a myriad of issues that go a lot further than just what is happening in our community, because we are part of the American fabric.”
Currently, there are nine out LGBTQ members of the House and two out LGBTQ members of the Senate. While still a small representation, out candidates winning at federal levels show it’s possible to run and to win with sexual orientation and families being front and center.