For the First Time, LGBTQ Candidates Are on the Ballot in All 50 States

For the first time in U.S. history, voters in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. will have the chance to vote for an LGBTQ candidate, a new report finds.

According to a new report by the LGBTQ Victory Fund, there will be at least 678 LGBTQ candidates on the ballot for the general election in November, an increase of 18 percent from 574 in 2020. This is partially due to an increase in the proportion of LGBTQ candidates tracked by the organization who won their primaries earlier this year, at 64 percent compared to 57 percent in 2020.

The proportion of LGBTQ candidates who are people of color also increased this year. While people of color accounted for 31 percent of LGBTQ candidates in 2020 and 29 percent in 2018, 38 percent of LGBTQ candidates appearing on general election ballots are people of color this year. Fourteen percent of these candidates are Black and 13 percent are Latinx.

Meanwhile, the proportion of candidates running for office who are not cisgender has hit an all-time high, representing 14 percent of LGBTQ candidates this year, compared to 8 percent in 2020.

The vast majority of these candidates are Democrats or leftists, the report finds. Of the 1,065 LGBTQ people who ran for offfice in this election cycle, 903 ran as Democrats, while several others ran under a progressive or socialist label. On the conservative side, two ran as libertarians and 45 ran as Republicans.

The increase in LGBTQ candidates comes amid a surge of attacks on LGBTQ people. Far right politicians have proposed hundreds of anti-LGBTQ bills this year, seeking to bar trans children from participating in school sports, censor books about LGBTQ characters, and more.

Perhaps threatened by the fact that acceptance of LGBTQ people has been trending upwards in recent decades, conservatives have also honed in on attacking LGBTQ people in the public sphere, seeking to demonize and scapegoat the LGBTQ community.

LGBTQ Victory Fund President Annise Parker says that the increase in LGBTQ candidates is a response to such attacks. “As politicians in state legislatures and on school boards levied unprecedented attacks on our community and our kids, LGBTQ leaders responded, running for office in record numbers,” Parker said in a statement.

“Voters are sick and tired of the relentless attacks lobbed against the LGBTQ community this year,” she said. “Bigots want us to stay home and stay quiet, but their attacks are backfiring and instead have motivated a new wave of LGBTQ leaders to run for office.”

Some of these candidates are set to be the first LGBTQ people in their particular seat if they win. Maura Healey and Tina Kotek, both Democrats, are slated to be the U.S.’s first-ever openly lesbian governors if they win office, in Massachusetts and Oregon, respectively. If U.S. House Democratic candidate Becca Balint wins, she will be the first-ever openly LGBTQ person from Vermont to be elected to Congress.