The Rainbow Wave Continues, LGBTQ Candidates Sweep the General Election Ballot
At a time when LGBTQ rights have been threatened under the Trump Administration, 2020 is ushering a new wave of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people into positions of power.
In the last four years, the estranged protocol has provoked widespread concerns for those who identify as trans. Since 2016, numerous trans-inclusive protections have been barred, including allowing homeless transgender individuals to seek shelter, the disapproval of those who identify as trans to enlist in the military, and, most recently, a halt on transgender civil rights and protections regarding access to healthcare.
Administrative discrimination by the Trump Administration has not idly stood alone. Rollback protection by the Education and Justice Departments has also placed trans folks in compromising positions, including rescinding Obama-era rulings to allow transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice and the dismissal of inmate protections in federal prisons to protect trans individuals housed in male-only facilities.
In short, the glass ceiling is cracking and shattering new heights. Sarah McBride, a 30-year-old LGBTQ activist, and Delaware state senator, is leading the effort.
McBride, who won Tuesday’s elections, is soon-to-be the most powerful openly trans-lawmaker in the country. She has been a former White House intern during the Obama administration and currently serves as a spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQ advocacy organization in the nation.
In Hawaii, Adrian Tam, 28, the only out LGBTQ representative in the state, earned an election victory over Nick Ochs, the President of the Hawaii chapter paramilitary group the Proud Boys.
On the East Coast, Ritchie Torres, a 32-year-old Democrat, will be the first openly gay Afro-Latino elected to represent the 15th Council District in the Central Bronx.
Down South, a run-off election is scheduled to take place in a few weeks between Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Reverend Raphael Warnock. Both candidates failed to secure more than 50% of the vote. Loeffler’s controversial support to ban transgender girls from playing in school spots is raising concerns amongst voters.
The bill, supported by Loeffler, would mean genital examinations would be allowed of student-athletes who are perceived to be transgender.
In turn, Warnock has made strong claims of LGBTQ support, condemning Loeffler’s conservative view and, instead, has shared his support for the Equality Act, which would mean adding LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections into federal law.
2020, amidst a pandemic stricken by grief and misplaced leadership, is advancing the reflection of American democracy in small steps.
In a country where an estimated 9 million Americans are LGBT(Q), addressing a fast-growing community’s needs can also answer questions of public policy, healthcare, and socioeconomic disparities.
As LGBTQ candidates rise to elected positions, the fabric of an all-inclusive democracy is taking shape, while the bold prerogative of conservative ideals trickles down the side of the rainbow.