As we all know, last Tuesday's midterm elections was supposed to be a red wave, but ended up as a rainbow wave (a little confession - that wasn't an original thought by me. It's been repeated ad nauseum by other sources). A historic number - over 340 - LGBTQ candidates were elected to public offices.
So what happens next?
National Public Radio (NPR) published a good story on Monday which talks about this very subject. The entire article is worth a read, particularly three points it made.
1. Generation Z is identifying as LGBTQ in high numbers and it could bode well for future elections.
To reach equitable representation, the U.S. needs to elect more than 35,000 additional out LGBTQ people to office, according to Victory Fund. Meloy said that Millennials and especially Gen Z are identifying as LGBTQ at levels never seen before. He thinks that fact may mean some of the gap will naturally be filled as younger generations run for office.
2. When LGBTQ people win elections, it encourages more of us to run for office.
When LGBTQ people win elections, more members of the community follow them, Meloy added. He hopes that the election of New Hampshire's James Roesener, who just became the first trans man ever elected to a state legislature, will inspire other trans men to run for office. He cited the uptick in trans women candidates after Virginia State Delegate Danica Roem won her race in 2017.
Erin Reed, a content creator and queer legislature researcher who shares LGBTQ news, (Editor's note - And one of my sheroes) noted that not only were many LGBTQ candidates elected, but many voters rejected anti-trans sentiments. "The loss of anti-transgender candidates from the school board level up to the state level sends a clear message that basing your candidacy on hate does is not a winning strategy,"Reed told NPR. "So many candidates thought they could rely on beating up on transgender people for an easy victory and they left election night disappointed." Reed said this won't stop attacks on transgender people. "I anticipate 2023 will be the worst year for anti-trans legislation ever," Reed said. "But it does send a clear message that voters are not moved by anti-trans laws."