Progressive democrat Mckayla Wilkes is taking another chance at a Congressional seat again. This time, she may get a little boost and support from the LGBTQ community. The reason being, she came out as bisexual herself.
On Thursday, February 11, Mckayla Wilkes announced her second attempt and campaign for a congressional seat. This time, she will be challenging House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer for Maryland’s 5th district seat in the 2022 primaries. Along with this campaign announcement, Wilkes came out as bisexual.
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 (@MeetMckayla) February 11, 2021
Speaking to LGBTQ Nation, Wilkes shared why she felt now was the right time to open up about her sexual orientation.
“It’s essential for me personally to be able to live 100% in my truth,” she said, “But I also hope to have a broader conversation around heteronormativity.”
One of Mckayla Wilkes’ biggest stances in her previous campaign is the fact that Maryland, and the country in general, need a change. Her opponent, Hoyer, is currently serving in his 20th term in Congress.
“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 text, never heard any mention of the issues that pertain to anyone in my community,” she said.
I am so, so grateful. For every person who believed in me. I never thought that someone formerly incarcerated like myself would even be taken seriously.
We lost. But it does appear we won more votes than any primary challenger to Hoyer in 40 years.
I won’t ever stop fighting. pic.twitter.com/nR1c23VYYV
— Mckayla Wilkes (@MeetMckayla) June 3, 2020
In the 2020 primary, Wilkes lost to 81-year-old Hoyer. Hoyer received 64.4% of the vote (compared to her 26.7%). That said, she argues that she won more votes than any past challenger and that voters feel the need for a change. In addition, Wilkes’ campaign led to her gaining support from other progressive politicians and voters.
“It was never about just the campaign; it’s about the movement,” she added. “I decided to run because the movement is still there, and we need more organizers, we need more activists, we need more people with lived experience in Congress.”
Along with many of her peers in the progressive movement, Wilkes supports issues like $2000 monthly checks during the coronavirus pandemic, supporting a Green New Deal, fighting for Medicare for all, transforming the justice system, providing homes for all, forwarding a Black agenda, and more.
We are proud to endorse: @MeetMckayla (Mckayla Wilkes) for MD-05! She is fighting for a Green New Deal and Medicare For All! This progressive is 100% Grassroots and People funded.
— The National Solidarity Movement (@284890767F) February 11, 2021
Mckayla Wilkes’ openness about her sexuality is not too surprising for anyone who followed her first campaign. According to myGwork, the single mother of two has openly discussed hard issues in her life such as going to jail at 25 for driving with a suspended license. She later revealed that she drove on the suspended license because she couldn’t afford to pay off her parking tickets. She has also previously talked about being arrested for marijuana possession at 20, having an abortion at 19, losing her aunt to the September 11 attacks, and more.
That said, coming out as bisexual was hard for Wilkes. Now, she wants to help create a world where others won’t feel as afraid as she did.
“It was a conscious decision,” she said. “I purposefully did not want to come out. [I was] afraid of what people would say, and the stigma. The way I felt…I don’t want anyone to feel like that, so if I can just empower one person or ten people or a hundred people, I feel like that would be something good.”