The presidential election was extremely stressful for us all, causing us to worry about who will win and what it means for the future. For many of us, this can mean the difference between life and death, especially for BIPOC and members of the LGBTQ communities who are at the mercy of homophobes and racists — many of whom are proud supporters of the color orange.
Instead of worrying whether I'll be sent to a conversion camp next year or not, I'd rather celebrate the much bigger and more important wins. There have been six representatives added to state governments this past election who are all a part of the LGBTQ community.
1. Michele Rayner-Goolsby
Michele Rayner-Goolsby made history as the first Black queer woman to become a state legislator in Florida. According to her website, "Michele comes from a long line of service — her mother is one of the first Black social workers in St. Petersburg, Florida."
She's won over five awards for civic engagement and has become an emerging voice on criminal justice reform, education, health, economic disparities, race, and gender issues.
2. Taylor Small
Taylor Small has become Vermont's first out transgender state legislator. Her current advocacy role is as the director of the health and wellness program at Pride Center of Vermont. Small is also a well-known drag queen in her area. She plans to discuss issues on addressing health care, transportation, and internet access.
3. Jabari Brisport
Jabari Brisport made history as the first LGBTQ person of color elected to the New York State Senate. Jabari is a third-generation Caribbean-American from Brooklyn who has spent his life working as both an activist and educator. As a public school teacher, Jabari is part of the movement of working-class New Yorkers fighting for his state. He is backed by the Working Families Party, New York Communities for Change, Democratic Socialists of America, and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
4. Shevrin Jones
Shevrin Jones is Florida's first openly LGBTQ+ state senator. Jones is an activist for justice and equality for the people of District 35 and all of Florida. His policies include "expanding funding for public education to make sure our kids can compete in the 21st-century economy," "protecting the LGBTQ community from discrimination in housing and employment," and "supporting Florida's network of small businesses, the lifeline of our economy."
5. Kim Jackson
Kim Jackson has become the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Georgia State Senate and became the first openly LGBTQ person elected to that chamber. To put it into perspective, there are currently just three openly LGBTQ Black women state senators in the entire country.
6. Mauree Turner
Mauree Turner is the first non-binary state lawmaker in the United States and the first Muslim in Oklahoma's statehouse. Turner is the first non-binary person to be named to a state legislature. Turner identifies as non-binary, which the National Center for Transgender Equality defines as gender understood as neither male nor female. Turner uses both they and she as pronouns.
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