LGBTQ+ political representation in the US has increased significantly within the past year, growing by 21% from June 2019, according to the LGBTQ Victory Institute’s “Out For America 2020” census report published last week.
The census report found that there are at least 843 openly LGBTQ+ officials serving in elected office to date.
This increase is largely due to the recent surge in the number of LGBTQ+ candidates running for office, which has often been referred to as a “rainbow wave.”
Of the 843 politicians and officials, 54% are gay men, 30% are lesbians, 6% are bisexual, and 5% are queer. The report does not provide any statistics on the different genders of officials who are queer and bisexual.
An overwhelming majority of LGBTQ+ officials in office are cisgender, however. Trans women make up just 2% of elected officials, while trans men account for 0.59%.
Meanwhile, nonbinary, gender non-conforming, two-spirit, and intersex people make up less than 1% combined.
It is also important to note that number of LGBTQ+ officials in elected office are mostly white. 77% are white, while 10 % are Hispanic, 6 % are Black, and 2 % Asian or Pacific Islander. Middle Eastern and Indigenous officials who are LGBTQ+make up less than 1 percent each.
While this 21% increase in LGBTQ+ officials is a victory, there is still a long way to go before everyone in the community is equally represented. LGBTQ+ people still only make up 0.17% of those in elected office and there is a huge gap in the number of elected officials who are trans and/or people of color.
In order to achieve full equitable representation, the US would need to have at least 22,544 LGBTQ+ people in elected office, according to the LGBTQ Victory Institute.
“While LGBTQ people are running for office in historic numbers, we remain severely underrepresented at every level of government — and that must change,” Mayor Annise Parker, President and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, said in a statement.
“We know that when LGBTQ people are in elected office and in the halls of power, they change the hearts and minds of their colleagues and it leads to more inclusive legislation.”
Some notable LGBTQ+ officials include Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, US Senator Tammy Baldwin, Minneapolis CM Andrea Jenkins, and California Insurance Com. Ricardo Lara.