This year shows an exciting change in politics for LGBTQ+ people that can set a precedent for future generations. According to The Victory Institute, although LGBTQ+ people are still largely underepresented in positions of power, more than 400 LGBTQ+ candidates are running for public office in 2018. This number shows a higher level of participation than ever before, marking history in our nation. Sean Meloy, the Victory Institute's political director, says, "It's a really exciting time."
The Victory Institute also reports that only .1 percent of all elected public officials currently serving are openly LGBTQ+ (meaning only 559 officials). In contrast, a major national poll suggests than an estimated 5 percent of U.S. citizens identify as LGBTQ+. The same poll also suggested that the figure could exceed 20 percent among young adults. Although .1 percent is nowhere near 5 percent or even 20 percent, the number of candidates this year shows an optimistic outlook for the future of LGBTQ+ people in politics.
Of the over 400 LGBTQ+ people running, the majority are democrats and are standing in November's midterm elections and range anywhere from congress to local government officials. Among them is a Democrat transgender woman, Alexandra Chandler, running for Congress in Massachusetts who argues that although she is a member of the LGBTQ+ community, that is only a part of her identity and people should see past that to understand what she can bring to the table.
This month alone, a gay Native-American woman won the crowded Democratic primary in Kansas and a transgender woman from Vermont has a chance at being governor. These recent changes in politics show that the people are ready to elect LGBTQ+ candidates and that the time may be right for more of us to run for office. Now, the most important thing to do is show up to vote in November and show that we support these candidates. Only our votes will bring that .1 percent closer to a higher number.
h/t: voanews.com, alternet.com