Representation matters. It’s literally the foundation of our political system, and helps ensure equal protection of the law. The LGBTQ community, however, hasn't really been represented by those elected to serve the American public in office, especially in a way that's indicitive of the number of LGBTQ Americans. That's starting to change, though. The 2018 midterms brought in a "rainbow wave" that swept across the country, ushering in new elected politicians that better represent the country and LGBTQ community. And, as you can imagine, that wave is impacting LGBTQ parents, who can finally have more hope about the future and the chances that all of us, regardless of how we identity or who we love, can feel equal under the law and in the eyes of our elected officials.
According to the Victory Fund, the 2018 midterm elections brought a rainbow of unprecedented diversity, with 225 LGBTQ candidates running — including those who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming — for a variety of local, state, and federal offices across the country.
A reported 151 LGBTQ candidates won their elections, too. Like Kate Brown, (D-Ore.), the country’s first bisexual governor, and Tammy Baldwin, (D-Wis.), the first LGBTQ senator, who were re-elected, and Jared Pollis, (D-Col.), who became the first gay man in the country to be elected to serve as Governor, according to HuffPost. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.) not only became one of the two Native American women elected to Congress for the very first time, but will be the first openly LGBTQ person to represent Kansas, according to Time. According to HuffPost, Angie Craig (D-Minn.), who identifies as a lesbian, defeated anti-LGBTQ GOP Representative Jason Lewis to became the first openly gay person elected to Congress in Minnesota, proving that love does, in fact, win.
So while the so-called "Blue Wave" fell somewhat flat and failed to secure the Senate for the Democrats, LGBTQ candidates won ground-breaking elections all over the country. Like single mom, reproductive rights activist, and small business owner Megan Hunt, who was the first openly LGBTQ woman ever elected to the Nebraska Legislature, and Adam Spickler, elected to the Cabrillo College Board of Trustees, making him the first trans man elected to public office in the state. With the Trump Administration's attempts to remove protections members of the LGBTQ community, these historic wins brought needed hope to some LGBTQ parents. Here are some of reflections about what the rainbow wave means to them:
"As a queer mom, it was extraordinary to watch. Seeing people like me finally taking offices throughout the country while being publicly out brings me so much joy. We have taken so many good steps towards having a government nationwide that is more representative of how wonderfully diverse this country really is. Things aren’t perfect, but this gives me hope that things are changing for the better."
"Honestly, instead of thrilled I’m just a little less terrified. It seems strange just how many other kids are so seriously confused that my daughter has two moms. I wonder where my progressive friends are hiding when their kids have no idea a family like mine exists. Some of the sweetest kids still argue with us that we don’t exist.
In the stores, people ask one another aloud if my partner is a man or a woman. They don’t care that we hear because we aren’t human to them. I hope that our LGBTQ representatives will bring some fresh air in with them. I hope their perspectives formed by life experience impacts all our lives with humanity and understanding. But that’s all I can do right now. I hope."
"Well, more and more our elected officials look and love like us, and that's so incredibly important. They know our struggles, challenges, priorities and values because they are theirs, too. Having them in office means it's harder for others to erase us. They know what real family values look like and know that any combination of people who commit to loving and supporting each other, regardless of marriage status, birth or adoption status, citizenship, residence, habitation, gender or gender identity are families, too.
Love and support are the only values that matter. The rest are details and logistics that should be up to each family to figure out for themselves. If government can't support that, it should at least get out of the way."
"We have a teenage daughter who is pansexual, and she was absolutely ecstatic after yesterday's rainbow wave. Last night really gave me some hope, because now she can look at all these amazing diverse people who have the same values that she has and she can point to those people and say, 'Hey, look! I can be anything.'
And now she feels like she can have a voice where it really matters. It felt good to know that Kim Davis has completely lost her place because of her bigotry and refusal to let two amazingly loving wonderful people together in matrimony."
"I honestly didn’t know how much it would affect me until I started hearing news reports about so many wins all over the country. Our community has had so many losses over the past two years that it's hard to stay positive, especially when you have kids and worry about their futures, too. Considering that the Census Bureau just decided to not collect information about sexuality and gender identity during the 2020 Census, and the Trump Administration has tried to erase protections for transgender people, our community needs this. We need hope."