Jared Polis (Pic: Facebook)
History was made on Tuesday when America elected its first openly gay governor alongside its first LGBTQ Native American congresswoman.
On Tuesday, Democrat Jared Polis , 43, was elected the governor of Colorado. He beat Republican Walker Stapleton, who is a second cousin of President George W. Bush.
Polis is also an entrepreneur and philanthropist and has been one of only a handful of openly LGBTQ members of congress since 2009. He and his partner, Marlon Reis, have two children.
“Tonight, Colorado rejected the Trump-Pence administration’s politics of bigotry and fear by choosing bold pro-equality champion Jared Polis, the nation’s first openly gay man elected governor,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in response to the victory.
While there has been one gay governor in the US before, he was not out at the time of his election. In 2004, Jim McGreevey came out while serving as governor of New Jersey but resigned at the same time over a sexual harassment scandal. Kate Brown is the first openly bisexual governor and was elected in Oregon in 2016.
Other notable LGBTQ wins in this week’s midterm election included that of Sharice Davids, 39, said to be the first LGBTQ Native American elected to Congress. She is also the first LGBTQ congress member from Kansas.
The openly lesbian Davids is a member of the Wisconsin-based Ho-Chunk Nation. She has a doctorate degree in law and also boasts a brief stint as an MMA fighter.
In a campaign video, she said: “This is a tough place to be a woman. I’ve been put down, pushed aside, knocked out. It’s clear Trump and the Republicans in Washington don’t give a damn about anyone like me or anyone who doesn’t think like them.”
“Sharice Davids made history tonight as the next congresswoman from Kansas, showing the Trump-Pence administration that LGBTQ people of colour are here, visible and that our fight for equality continues to move forward,” commented Griffin.
Sharice Davids (Pic: Facebook)
It’s believed that around 244 LGBTQ people were up for election for positions in federal, state, local and municipal levels, across the USA during this week’s elections.
According to Victory Fund, LGBTQ people won at least 8 federal office seats, 86 state office seats, and 34 local office seats. The organisation dubbed this a “Rainbow Wave”.
“America needs authentic, values-driven elected officials in the halls of power right now and voters found those qualities in our out LGBTQ candidates,” said the group.
Also on Tuesday, voters in Massachusetts chose to uphold a 2016 law protecting transgender people from discrimination in public accommodations including restaurants, hotels, hospitals, stores and public transportation.
In a defeat likely welcomed by most LGBTQ Americans, notorious homophobe Kim Davis lost her re-election bid to remain county clerk for Rowan County in Kentucky.
Davis made international headlines in 2015 when she refused to allow same-sex couples to marry in her county, defying the US Supreme Court. She spent five nights in jail and even met the Pope. Her position will be filled by Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr who says he will marry all couples.