A historic number of LGBTQ people have joined Congress.
Ten out politicians were sworn into the 116th U.S. Congress Thursday — two in the U.S. Senate and eight in the House of Representatives. This “rainbow wave” of politicians joins the most diverse Congress ever, which includes over 100 women, over 50 black members, 39 Hispanic members, two Native American women, and two Muslim women. The watershed moment was lauded by Mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Institute, as a turning point in the history of federal lawmaking.
“A historic number of LGBTQ people will serve in the new U.S. Congress and their influence will shape the debate on equality legislation and issues moving forward,” Parker said. “In the U.S. Senate, those opposed to the Equality Act will now need to look two openly LGBTQ senators in the eyes and tell them their lives are not worth protecting. In the U.S. House, Speaker Pelosi will have eight LGBTQ representatives to consult about how various healthcare or criminal justice reform policies uniquely affect our community. The relationships these LGBTQ lawmakers will build with their colleagues on Capitol Hill are transformative, and with an unprecedented number of women and people of color also joining the 116th Congress, equality issues will finally receive the attention they deserve.”
Meet the Senate and House members who are representing our community — and America — below.
Sharice Davids is the newly elected representative for Kansas's Third Congressional District. She makes history as Kansas’s first LGBTQ member of Congress and the first gay Native American woman elected to Congress.
New Hampshire elected its first out member of Congress, gay man Chris Pappas, a Democrat, in 2018, over Republican Eddie Edwards for an open seat in the First Congressional District.
Kyrsten Sinema made history in 2018 when she won a tight race in Arizona to become the first out bisexual U.S. senator. Unfortunately, she will serve alongside her defeated opponent, the anti-LGBTQ Martha McSally, who was appointed to serve the remaining two years of the late John McCain’s term in the Senate.
Mark Takano has served as representative for California's 41st Congressional District since 2013, when he became the first openly gay person of Asian descent elected to Congress.