It was a historic night for LGBTQ+ Democratic candidates in Florida.
The Sunshine State elected its first out LGBTQ+ state senator, Shevrin Jones. He will represent District 35 in the State Senate.
Jones will become one of the only out Black men serving in U.S. state senates; he will share that distinction with Jabari Brisport, who successfully ran in New York. Jones, who came out as gay in 2018, has served several terms in Florida's House.
Additionally, Michele Rayner is the first Black queer woman to win a seat in the Florida legislature. She will represent District 70 in the State House.
Raynor is a civil rights attorney and social justice advocate and lead counsel of Civil Liberty Law, her own law firm. In addition, Raynor is local counsel for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and the Fred G. Minnis Bar Association.
Annise Parker, president of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which endorsed Jones and Rayner, released a statement praising Jones's victory.
“Shevrin shattered a long-standing political barrier for LGBTQ candidates in Florida and his victory will resonate far beyond the boundaries of his state," Parker said in a statement to The Advocate. "Shevrin has led on justice-related issues in the state House and his victory is certain to inspire more Black LGBTQ leaders to choose elected office as a way to make change. The politics of division and hatred failed in this race and gave way to a government that is more representative of the people it serves.”
The LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign also tweeted their congratulations to Rayner.
At present, only 42 LGBTQ+ state legislators of color serve in the U.S.; 13 of these are Black.