Keshet is a national organization that works for LGBTQ equality in Jewish life. The organization equips Jewish leaders with tools to build LGBTQ-affirming communities, creates spaces for queer Jewish teens to feel valued and develop their own leadership skills, and mobilizes the Jewish community to fight for LGBTQ justice. Keshet’s blog spotlights this work, as well as the voices of LGBTQ Jews, our families, and allies.
As we celebrate the affirmative vote for trans protections here in Massachusetts—the first time a question about trans rights was brought to ballot– we are also thrilled to see so many other historic election moments happening across the country.
In Kansas, Sharice Davids– an openly lesbian Native American MMA fighter (!!) was just elected to Congress. She is the first LGBTQ person from Kansas ever elected to Congress, and one of the first two Native women elected to Congress. The other being Deb Haaland, who was also elected last night.
Jared Polis became the first gay man ever elected as a Governor, as he won in Colorado last night. Polis, who had served five terms in Congress, is also Jewish, and has spoken openly about how both religion and his sexuality have influenced his politics.
The New Hampshire State House of Representatives will be gaining two trans women in January. Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker will join Virginia State Delegate Danica Roem (who was elected last year) as the only open trans members of any state legislatures in the country.
Also in New Hampshire, the state’s first openly gay member of congress was elected! Chris Pappas campaigned on a platform that stressed LGBTQ equality, speaking specifically about protections for trans folx in the military.
Angie Craig was elected to congress from Minnesota. Craig openly identifies as a lesbian, wand will be the first LGBTQ person elected to congress from her state.
In Iowa, Zach Wahls won a seat in the Iowa State Senate. Zach’s passionate defense of his two mothers and gay marriage in 2011 went viral, and Zach will now be one of the youngest people ever to serve in the Iowa Senate.
Florida elected their first ever lesbian mayor, in Key West. Teri Johnston got almost twice the total number of votes as her opponent. She will be the second female mayor in the city’s history.
J.D. Ford is now the first openly LGBTQ person elected to state legislature in Indiana, and the first out gay black man was elected to the Pennsylvania legislature. Malcom Kenyatta will join Brian Sims as one of two out state representatives.
In a race that is still too close to call in California, Katie Hill—an openly bisexual 31 year old— might unseat Steve Knight—a politician whose father authored a ban on gay marriage in California in 2000.
Throughout the country, woman, minorities and LGBTQ people won elections in unprecedented numbers. Though we have work left to do, it is thrilling to see a political landscape in America that is starting to look more like the America we know—a country that is diverse, full of strong women and people of every ethnic background and sexual orientation and gender identity, who have bold ideas and progressive values, who are striving to make this country more just for all of us.
This is not a comprehensive list—there are races still undecided, and stories that we haven’t read—but it is a way to note that we are excited by the things we are seeing and the progress being made.