Torres and Jones Win, Will Become 1st Gay Black Members of Congress


Assuming, as some researchers do, that Americans who are gay, bisexual or transgender represent 4.5 percent of the population, and Black Americans represent 12 percent of the L.G.B.T.Q. community, Congress would need three Black L.B.G.T.Q. members to mirror the nation’s demographics.

Other researchers believe 10 percent of the American population is L.G.B.T.Q., thanks to growing self-identification among younger Americans and Americans of color. If true, six openly gay and Black members of Congress would more accurately reflect the broader population, according to Andrew Reynolds, a professor at Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs.

Either way, Professor Reynolds said the victories of Mr. Torres and Mr. Jones represent “a significant moment of psychological change in who we feel is electable as a politician.”

Mr. Torres agreed. “Gay Incorporated has historically been dominated by white gay men,” he said. “So the victories of Mondaire and myself represent progress not only outside the L.G.B.T.Q. community, but also from within.”

Researchers and L.G.B.T.Q. advocates see other evidence that Americans have come a long way since Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay nonincumbent elected to Congress in 1998. Earlier, members had come out — or had been outed — while in office.

Congress now has nine L.G.B.T.Q. members; seven are white, one is Asian-American and one is Native American, Mr. Magni said.

American voters’ openness to gay or bisexual politicians now also extends to people of color, as evidenced by the election of Lori Lightfoot, who is Black and lesbian, to become mayor of Chicago; the election of Sharice Davids, the first lesbian Native American elected to Congress and the victories of Mr. Torres and Mr. Jones.

“With their wins, we will now have a more inclusive Congress,” said Alphonso B. David, the head of the Human Rights Campaign. “We will have a Congress that is more reflective of the diversity of our community, and we will have a Congress that protects all of our interests.”



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