Washington, DC LGBTQ Victory Institute announced it will induct four political leaders into the 2021 class of the LGBTQ Victory Hall of Fame, which honors the LGBTQ elected officials, appointed officials and candidates who made a lasting impact on LGBTQ political history. The 2021 class will include former Ireland Taoiseach and current Tanaiste Leo Varadkar, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, former California state Sen. Christine Kehoe and Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins. The four will be inducted at a ceremony during LGBTQ Victory Fund's 30th Anniversary Gala on Saturday, Dec. 4, in Washington, D.C.
The One Victory Board of Directors voted to induct the four members of the 2021 class, who must be LGBTQ elected officials, appointed officials or candidates to be eligible. The Hall of Fame was first launched in May with 21 founding inductees, with additional members of the annual class inducted each December. View all the Hall of Fame inductees at victoryhalloffame.org .
"The 2021 inductees to the LGBTQ Victory Hall of Fame shattered lavender ceilings to become historic firsts in their positions and then made LGBTQ equality a priority when in office," said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Institute. "Their victories and leadership opened doors for more LGBTQ people to follow in their footsteps and to view public service as the best avenue for change. We are honored to induct them into the Hall of Fame so their contributions are forever remembered."
Details about each of the 2021 inductees are below.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown
In 2016, Kate Brown made history as the first out LGBTQ person elected governor of any state, when she won her special election to serve out the term of former Gov. John Kitzhaber. Brown who is bisexual previously made history as the first out LGBTQ person elected secretary of state in 2008. Brown's political career began in 1991 when, as a young lawyer she was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Oregon House of Representatives. She was re-elected to the position and later won a seat in the Oregon Senate, where she served as majority leader. In office, Brown has earned the nickname "America's most progressive governor," supporting laws to expand voting access, state funding for abortion and investment in universal pre-K.
Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins
Andrea Jenkins is the first out Black transgender woman to win elected office in the U.S. and currently serves as vice president of the Minneapolis City Council, where she represents Ward 8. Her election also marked the first time in history an out transgender woman was elected to a major city's council. Prior to her election, Jenkins served as a City Council staffer for twelve years. From 2015 to 2018, she worked as an oral historian for the Tretter Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota, documenting the stories of transgender and gender non-conforming Midwesterners. Jenkins is an accomplished poet and writer.
Former California state Sen. Christine Kehoe
Christine Kehoe was an established feminist, LGBTQ rights and AIDS activist when she was elected to a seat on the San Diego City Council in 1993, becoming the first out LGBTQ elected official in the county. During her tenure, she was appointed to the California Coastal Commission and the San Diego Association of Governments. After serving seven years on the Council, she was elected to the California State Assembly, where she served 12 years, during which she co-founded the LGBT Legislative Caucus, authored the state's largest energy conservation bill, and was elected Assembly Speaker Pro Tem, the chamber's second-highest-ranking position. In 2004, Kehoe was elected to the state Senate, where she served until 2012.
Tánaiste of Ireland Leo Varadkar
Serving as Ireland's Taoiseach from 2017 to 2020, Leo Varadkar is the fourth out LGBTQ person in modern history to serve as a head of government, as well as the youngest Irish Taoiseach in history and its first prime minister of Asian descent. Varadkar first ran for office as a medical student in 1999, coming shy in his bid for local office. He was later co-opted to fill a vacancy on Fingal County Council in 2003 and won election to the position in 2004. Varadkar won election as a Fine Gael member of Dail Eireann in the 2007 election and soon was elevated to a series of leadership roles in the opposition front bench. When Fine Gael formed a governing coalition in 2011, Varadkar became minister for transport, tourism and spot, and later served as minister for health and minister for social protection. He replaced Edna Kenny as leader of Fine Gael in 2017, paving the way for his election as Taoiseach. In office he championed a nationwide referendum modernizing Ireland's abortion laws, which overwhelmingly passed in 2018. Currently Varadkar serves as Ireland's Tanaiste, the deputy head of government.
About Victory Institute
LGBTQ Victory Institute works to achieve and sustain global equality through leadership development, training, and convening to increase the number, expand the diversity, and ensure the success of out LGBTQ elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.