First Out Elected Politicians

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Being elected to a public office after campaigning as an out LGBTQ individual reflects an absolute sense of confidence in one's ability to lead. The result also reflects society's general acceptance of the individual's capabilities to administer and govern regardless of sexual orientation or other distinguishing personal characteristics. Undoubtedly, the individual faced a certain degree of homophobia, abuse, intolerance and hatred in pursuite of their elected position - and they overcame this hostility.

This list of individuals represents the important role of visible participation of minorities in elected government. It is advantageous that visible minorities be a part of the decision-making body that sets the agenda, determines policy, and establishes the social construct of the collective whole.

For many, the argument is made that being LGBTQ is only one element of their personal being. Other qualities come to the fore in an election campaign that can trump or reinforce the individual's capabilities to hold the elected office. This is, of course, true.

Nevertheless, the LGBTQ community needs role models, mentors and leaders to act as examples of what can be accomplished regardless of sexual orientation.

Increasingly for the developed world, an out politician can use that fact as a reflection of their progressiveness in politics. This can hold an appeal to the voter, especially in the case when political momentum is for positive change. This may explain why many out politicians get their start in politics at the local level and receive support on local issues within their communities before venturing into larger regional or national politics.

The landscape is shifting rapidly for LGBTQ politicians, in both a positive and negative way. While there have been remarkable legislative advances on LGBTQ issues, there is increasing backlash on the characterization of a ‘gay agenda’ in politics amongs far right voters. This is true in all parts of the world and presents the biggest challenge to out politicians today.

The following individuals are the first Out elected politicians in their country. They do not necessarily represent individuals who revealed their sexual identity after election, and the dates represent their first time elected as an openly LGBTQ individual:

Australia

Brazil

Canada

Chile

China

  • Ray Chan, Hong Kong Legislative Council (2012)

Colombia

Cuba

Finland

Germany

Great Britain

India

  • Kamla Jaan, Mayor - Katni, first Transgender elected prefect in India (2000)
  • Shabnam Mausi, State Legislative Assembly (1998)

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Japan

Latvia

  • Edgars Rinkevics, Member of Parliament (2018 re-elected as gay, came out as gay in 2014 during first term)

Mexico

Nepal

Netherlands

Peru

Philippines


Poland

Thailand

United States

  • Tammy Baldwin, Congress (2012), House of Representatives (1999)
  • Kate Brown, Governor - Oregon (2016 - appointed in 2015)
  • Kathy Kozachenko, City Councillor (1974)
  • Jared Polis, Governor - Colorado (2018 - elected gay individual)
  • Stu Rasmussen, Transgender Mayor - Silverton, Oregon (2008)
  • Kenneth Reeves, Mayor (2006 - First Black Openly Gay Mayor)
  • Danica Roem, Representative, House of Delegates (2017 - first out Transgender State representative)

Uruguay

Venezuela

See Also