Which Democratic U.S. Senators Have the Gayest and Least Gay Staffs?
Democrats in the U.S. Senate have released their annual survey of staff diversity, and the proportion of LGBTQ+ staffers is at an all-time high of 16 percent.
The question about LGBTQ+ representation was introduced in 2019, and the percentage has risen every year since then, according to a press release from Senate Democrats. Sen. Chuck Schumer introduced the Senate Diversity Initiative survey in 2017, when he became leader of the Senate Democratic Conference and vowed to increase staff diversity and report on it. To date, Senate Republicans have conducted no such survey.
The survey also includes questions about gender and ethnicity. The percentage of staffers identifying as non-Caucasian increased for the fourth straight year, to the highest level ever. Among this year’s findings:
• Thirteen percent of staffers identify as African American. More African Americans now work for Democratic offices than ever before, continuing four years of growth, and resulting in 20 percent more African American staffers than were recorded in the first survey in 2017.
• Ten percent identify as Asian American/Pacific Islander, a 50 percent increase from the first survey.
• Three percent identify as Middle East/North African, a 40 percent increase from the 2017 survey.
• Two percent identify as Native American, Alaskan, or Hawaiian, a 15 percent increase from the first survey.
• Fifteen percent identify as Latino, a 67 percent increase from 2017.
“Senate Democrats are actively working to ensure that our offices reflect the diversity of the states and communities we represent. Our democracy is strengthened when all voices are heard and represented,” Schumer, who is Senate majority leader, said in the press release. “Transparency is vital to affirming Americans’ faith in our democratic system, which is why the Democratic conference continues to publish the results of our internal survey on diversity of Democratic Senate staff. It is clear more needs to be done but it is encouraging to see that the staff of our caucus is growing more diverse with every passing year.”
On LGBTQ+ staff specifically, he said, “As the MAGA Republican-controlled Supreme Court appears hell-bent on rolling back basic human rights and equal protections under the law, now more than ever it is important for Senate offices and committees to have robust LGBTQ representation. I am proud of the work Senate Democrats have done to increase the number of LGBTQ staff during the past four years. We’ll keep working to include a broad range of lived experiences and diverse perspectives in the legislative process, and fighting to uphold equality and safeguard the rights of all citizens.”
Read on to see which Democratic senators have the highest and lowest proportions of LGBTQ+ staff. Images are from the senators' Instagram accounts, with posts on various topics, with the exception of one who isn't on the platform.
Pictured, from left: Sens. Patty Murray, Bob Casey, and Ben Ray Luján
The West Virginia senator has no LGBTQ+ staff members. He's also one of the most conservative Senate Democrats, with just a so-so record on LGBTQ+ issues, and he's blocked progressive legislation. He's now considering a presidential run as a third-party "No Labels" candidate.