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Mississippi Poised to Elect First Gay Legislator Ever

Mississippi Poised to Elect First Gay Legislator Ever

Fabian Nelson

Fabian Nelson won the Democratic primary for his Mississippi House district and has no opposition in the general election.

Fabian Nelson, a gay Black man, is on track to become Mississippi’s first out state legislator.

Nelson won Tuesday’s runoff in his district’s Democratic primary for Mississippi House of Representatives, and the Republicans have no candidate running in the general election, so Nelson is assured of winning the seat in November.

“I still think I’m in a dream. I’m still trying to process it and take it in,” Nelson told the Associated Press Wednesday. “It’s still shocking to me, I have to be honest.”

Nelson, a 38-year-old real estate professional, ran in House District 66, located in the Jackson metro area. In the primary, held August 8, he and Roshunda Harris-Allen, a college professor, were the top two finishers, but neither won a majority. In the runoff, Nelson easily bested Harris-Allen, 69 percent to 31 percent.

The district’s incumbent, Democrat De’Keither Stamps, did not seek reelection, as he is running for the Mississippi Public Service Commission. Nelson had run unsuccessfully against Stamps for the District 66 House seat in 2020.

Nelson’s priorities as a state representative will include better funding for education, supporting small businesses, and expanding Medicaid. He plans to be a voice for marginalized people in the deeply conservative state as well.

Mississippi and Louisiana are the only states that have never elected an out state legislator. Nelson has been endorsed by LGBTQ+ groups, including the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund and the Human Rights Campaign.

“Representation matters — especially in Mississippi, which is one of the last two states to achieve the milestone of electing an out LGBTQ+ lawmaker,” said a statement from Victory Fund President and CEO Annise Parker. “Voters in Mississippi should be proud of the history they’ve made but also proud to know they’ll be well-represented by Fabian. Fabian’s victory is a testament to his dedication to his community and the thoughtful, diligent work he put into winning this campaign. LGBTQ+ Victory Fund proudly went all-in for Fabian — and for effective leadership in Mississippi — providing training, consulting and on-the-ground support. We look forward to seeing him take his seat in the legislature and champion a better Mississippi for all.”

Nelson’s victory “sends a real message in a time when we are seeing attacks legislatively and through violence against the LGBTQ+ community that the majority of people reject that kind of animus,” Rob Hill, state director of HRC’s Mississippi chapter, told the AP. “I think a lot of youth around the state who have felt like their leaders are rejecting them or targeting them won’t feel as lonely today.”

Nelson vowed to fight legislative attacks on LGBTQ+ people and other oppressed groups in Mississippi. “At the end of the day, I put my suit on the same way every other person who walks in that statehouse does,” he told the AP. “I’m going to walk in there, and I’m going to be a sound voice as to why things like this can’t continue to go on in the state of Mississippi.”

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