The nation may yet know who the next president is, but voters made history on Election Day with their support of LGBTQ+ congressional candidates, including Mondaire Jones (D-NY) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY)—both of whom will become the first openly gay Black members of the House of Representatives—the Victory Fund announced. Torres also holds the distinction of being the first openly LGBTQ+ Afro-Latinx member of Congress.
The Victory Fund—which advocates increasing LGBTQ+ representation in government—confirmed that a history-making 26 openly LGBTQ+ candidates ran for a U.S. Senate or House of Representative seat this Election Day (Nov. 3).
In celebration of Jones’ and Torres’ wins, Houston’s former mayor and Victory Fund president Annise Parker said in a statement:
Mondaire and Ritchie have shattered a rainbow ceiling and will bring unique perspectives based on lived experiences never before represented in the U.S. Congress. As our nation grapples with racism, police brutality and a pandemic that disproportionally affects people of color and LGBTQ people, these are the voices that can pull us from the brink and toward a more united and fair society. Their elections will end any doubts about the electability of Black LGBTQ men to our nation’s highest legislative body. It will also inspire more young LGBTQ leaders and leaders of color to run and serve.
Jones tweeted that he was humbled “to serve the community that raised me — the community that just sent an openly gay, Black guy who grew up in Section 8 housing and on food stamps to Congress.”
I am humbled by the trust voters in Westchester and Rockland have placed in me, and grateful for the opportunity to serve the community that raised me — the community that just sent an openly gay, Black guy who grew up in Section 8 housing and on food stamps to Congress. https://t.co/O88nA5LN5q
rn— Mondaire Jones (@MondaireJones) November 4, 2020
Torres tweeted about what it means to have a seat at one of the most powerful tables there is:
A wise person once said: if you don’t have a seat at the table, then you’re probably on the menu. With @MondaireJones and I, LGBTQ people of color will have a seat at one of the most powerful tables: the United States Congress. https://t.co/pwNiOZcQUU
rn— Ritchie Torres (@RitchieTorres) November 4, 2020
Jones and Torres were not alone in their groundbreaking wins, a promising sign that the country is moving closer to political equity. Activist Sarah McBride also broke ground by becoming the first self-identified trans person to win a state senate seat, which she will assume for Delaware as a Democrat, CNN reported. Last year, the U.S. Congress welcomed Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kansas) as its first lesbian Native American member.