Washington, DC — At least 184 out LGBTQ candidates won elected office throughout 2021, more than in any other odd-numbered election year in U.S. history. The previous record was 169 candidates set in 2019. Transgender women won 63 percent of their races — the highest win rate of any gender identity — followed by cisgender women candidates, who won 51 percent of their races.
Of the 184 LGBTQ candidates who won, 112 were non-incumbents, and 73 of 89 incumbents won. When the newly elected officials take office, there will be approximately 1038 serving out LGBTQ elected officials in the U.S. — surpassing 1000 for the first time. There are currently 995 out elected officials serving.
Below are key findings and a demographic and success breakdown of the 430 known out LGBTQ candidates who ran in 2021 — looking at sexual orientation, gender identity, race/ethnicity, incumbency and endorsement status. A statement from Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, is also included below.
Key findings from the data include:
46 percent of known out LGBTQ candidates won their races in 2021, including 59 percent of Victory Fund endorsed candidates;*
Trans women had the highest win rates of any gender identity (63 percent), with 12 trans women winning their elections;
Lesbian candidates outperformed all other sexual orientation groups, winning 60 percent of their elections;
Cisgender women outperformed cisgender men by seven percentage points — 51 percent compared to 44 percent;
37 percent of LGBTQ candidates in 2021 were people of color and 37 percent won their races — with Asian and Pacific Islander candidates winning 58 percent of races; and
A historic number of non-binary (16) and queer-identified people (53) ran, but their win rates were 28 percent and 35 percent, respectively.
"Trans women candidates were enormously successful at the ballot box — outperforming candidates of all other gender identities and further highlighting the disconnect between voters and the politicians who promote anti-trans agendas," said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. "Beyond that notable exception, LGBTQ candidates who face the most structural barriers were often those who struggled most at the ballot box. But many are first time candidates who will run again and the experiences from this year will be invaluable in their next campaign."
"While more LGBTQ candidates won election in 2021 than in any other odd-numbered election year, the growth is modest compared to how far we are from achieving equitable representation. As anti-LGBTQ politicians introduce hundreds of hateful bills and extreme right-wing activists attack trans students in school board meetings, it is imperative we elect more LGBTQ people to counter their efforts. There is no better weapon than an LGBTQ elected official who can humanize our issues and lives for their legislative colleagues and constituents."
When the newly elected officials take office, LGBTQ people will hold just 0.2 percent of all elected positions in the United States, despite representing at least 5.6 percent of the U.S. population. Currently LGBTQ elected officials hold just 0.19 percent of positions.
See Win/Loss Breakdown of the 430 out LGBTQ candidates who ran in 2021 at victoryfund.org/news/184-lgbtq-candidates-won-elected-office-in-2021/ .
LGBTQ Victory Fund
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America's politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.