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Editor's Letter: Did You Hear an Election Is Coming?

Diane Anderson-Minshall

Queer and allied candidates want to wrest power from Trump, but they need you.

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Putting together a magazine focused on LGBT+ politicians during the middle of Pride offers a great time to reflect on how a constant infusion of new faces and ideas is needed to move progressive ideas forward -- or resist it from going too far backwards -- but supporting our old allies remains critical as well. Those middle-aged politicians riding in convertibles in our Pride parades waving like crazy are allies we still need. Every year, the next generation of LGBT politicos is on the sidelines -- watching, waiting, and thinking, What if? or Someday...

One of my favorite snaps this summer was of U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (below) running through the Pride parade in Boston wrapped in a rainbow feather boa. Though her Native heritage may be farther removed than mine (my relatives areon the Dawes Rolls), we share the same white-passing privilege of a mixed-race person. She's been one of the loudest critics of many Trump administration policies (like seperating children from parents at the border) and I think will step up on tribal issues this year as well.

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Seeing a straight politician many people want to become president in 2020 gallivanting through a Pride parade like a college student rolling on molly is exhilarating. But this issue focuses on LGBT-identified politicians who have elections this year.

This has been a banner year for LGBT candidates, with more than 400 of us running for office in the United States. While neither won the primary elections in June, two gay Marylanders made lasting campaign impressions: Richard Madaleno ran for governor of Maryland and made history by airing the first U.S. political ad featuring a same-sex kiss between a candidate and his spouse. The ad also featured their kids, Katie and Jackson. After sharing a kiss with husband, Mark Hodge, Madaleno closed the ad saying, "Take that Trump!" Meanwhile, Kevin Mack, who ran for the Maryland House of Delegates, used his HIV-positive status as a positive attribute -- which sparked no backlash. My Fabulous Disease blogger Mark S. King reported that Mack told attendees at a fundraising event, "I believe in government and its ability to help people. I have been on Medicaid. I have experienced homelessness and addiction. And I am living with HIV." Olympic champ Greg Louganis, who is also poz, lent support to Mack's campaign.

As we learned just hours before going to press, not all of the candidates we cover in this issue won their primaries. Some did, including Colorado's Jared Polis, who will face a Republican opponent this November. I remain hopeful.

We've all seen political elections (and politicians) that have gone off the rails before. When Patricia Todd -- the first out gay lawmaker in Alabama, who has been in office since 2016, and is, in my opinion, one of the state's best representatives -- responded flippantly to her governor's anti-LGBT rhetoric, she found herself out of a new job. Todd was to become the first executive director of One Orlando Alliance, until she posted on Facebook that she was sick of closeted politicians and it was time for Alabama's homophobic governor, Kay Ivey, to be outed. Long rumored to be a lesbian, Governor Ivey had publicly condemned an LGBT nonprofit community center, Free2Be, saying she didn't agree with its values or agenda. Ivey responded to Todd's comment, saying it was "a disgusting lie ... and I'm not gonna let them get away with it."

In politics, sometimes it's baby steps -- or two steps forward and one back -- to change. Vote. We know the difference a few votes can make.

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Diane Anderson-Minshall

Diane Anderson-Minshall is the CEO of Pride Media, and editorial director of The Advocate, Out, and Plus magazine. She's the winner of numerous awards from GLAAD, the NLGJA, WPA, and was named to Folio's Top Women in Media list. She and her co-pilot of 30 years, transgender journalist Jacob Anderson-Minshall penned several books including Queerly Beloved: A Love Across Genders.
Diane Anderson-Minshall is the CEO of Pride Media, and editorial director of The Advocate, Out, and Plus magazine. She's the winner of numerous awards from GLAAD, the NLGJA, WPA, and was named to Folio's Top Women in Media list. She and her co-pilot of 30 years, transgender journalist Jacob Anderson-Minshall penned several books including Queerly Beloved: A Love Across Genders.