Richie Torres (NY-15)

The U.S. Congress has never had an out LGBTQ+ Afro-Latinx member. Ritchie Torres might just be the first.

Torres, currently a New York City councilmember, is running to be the next member of Congress for the Empire State’s 15th congressional district in the South Bronx. It’s a majority Latinx district that also happens to be one of the smallest districts in the country geographically. The district is currently represented by fellow Democrat José Serrano, who is retiring this year after 30 years in Congress.

“I’m a product of the Bronx, born and bred,” says Torres, whose mother is African American and whose father is from Puerto Rico. “I was raised by a single mother who kept our family afloat on a $4.25 minimum wage. I grew up in a housing project that was full of leaks and lead, with no reliable heat or hot water in the winter. As a product of public housing, public schools, and public hospitals, I had a dream of fighting for my community in the hopes of building a better Bronx.”

Torres became the youngest ever member of New York City Council when he was elected in 2013 at the age of 25. He’s also the first openly LGBTQ+ elected official from the Bronx.

As a member of Congress, “I’ll fight for quality health care and housing, schools and jobs. I'll stand up for immigrants, seniors, and youth. I'll fight everyday to protect our neighborhoods from gun violence and make the Bronx a safe, decent, affordable place to live,” says Torres.

“My motto in life is simple: ‘If you do nothing, nothing will change,’” says Torres. “We can build a better Bronx, but we have to do it together.”

For more information, please visit his campaign website.

Mondaire Jones (NY-17)

The U.S. Congress has never had a member who is an out LGBTQ+ person of color. Mondaire Jones wants to change that.

Jones is running to represent New York’s 17th congressional district, made up of parts of Westchester County and all of Rockland County just north of New York City. The seat is currently held by Democratic powerhouse Nita Lowey, who has served since 1989. She previously announced that she would be retiring at the end of this term.

Jones won the Democratic primary earlier this year to much fanfare, not only because he is gay and Black, but because he is part of a new generation of representation. He is 33.

“I’m running for Congress to fight for bold, progressive policies that will help everyday people and allow all children in New York’s 17th Congressional District to dream big like I did,” says Jones.

Jones was born to a young, single mother at Nyack Hospital and raised in the working-class village of Spring Valley in Rockland County. She soon had to drop out of college and worked multiple jobs to make ends meet, even with the aid of a Section 8 housing voucher from the federal government. Jones says he learned early on that, in a low-wage economy that doesn’t work for the average American, government assistance is necessary to fill in the gaps. When he was two years old, his mother was diagnosed with a devastating mental illness. His grandparents subsequently helped raise him.

An attorney by trade, Jones worked in the U.S. Department of Justice during the Obama presidency. He’s also worked pro bono for the Legal Aid Society.
In June, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, Queerty named him among the 50 heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people.” He’s been endorsed by a slew of current and former elected officials, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, Sec. Julián Castro, and President Obama. He’s also been endorsed by the New York Times.

For more information, go to his campaign website.

Marque Snow (NE-09)

Marque Snow hopes to be the first out LGBTQ+ person of color elected to the Nebraska legislature.

“I am a Nebraskan, an advocate for working families, and current president of the Omaha School Board. I believe in the power of public service and in pursuing fairness and access to the good life for all. That’s why I am running to represent Legislative District 9,” says Snow.

Legislative District 9 in Nebraska’s unicameral legislature encompasses midtown Omaha. It’s currently held by a Democrat who is term-limited from running again.

“I plan on continuing my work to improve our public schools and ensure all of our kids are receiving the education they deserve,” says Snow. “I am proud of my union experience and will fight for working families. I stand with small businesses and will work to ensure that we are building a place where talented Nebraskans want to stay to raise their families. I am proud to call Nebraska my home.”

As part of his platform, Snow promises to protect public schools, support small businesses, expand access to public transportation, increase access to renewable energy, make mental health services and special education a priority, support workers and increase access to affordable housing, and fight for the rights of all Nebraskans, including the LGBTQ+ community.

“I will fight to pass the LGBTQ non-discrimination law for the entire state of Nebraska,” says Snow. Senator Megan Hunt, a fellow Omaha Democrat, “has introduced legislation that will ban the use of conversion therapy in Nebraska. This bill is vital to ban a piece of debunked therapy that only hurts members of the LGBTQ community and needs to be banned."

For more information, please visit his campaign website

Kim Jackson (GA-41)

Georgia may well elect its first LGBTQ+ state senator. Kim Jackson is the Democrat running in District 41, which encompasses part of Dakalb and Gwinnett counties, suburban communities just outside Atlanta.

The seat is currently held by a fellow Democrat, Steve Henson, who has held the seat since 2003 but is not running for reelection. And while the district might be heavily Democrat, Georgia certainly isn’t. That is why Jackson is running on a platform “fighting to move Georgia forward,” focusing on issues such as criminal justice reform, medicaid expansion and raising the minimum wage.

“I was raised in a hardworking family, where love of God, family, and country were prioritized,” Jackson says. “My dad served families as a social worker for more than 30 years. For many years, he worked for Child Protective Services. From my dad, I learned the importance of advocating for the vulnerable and neglected.”

Jackson's mother, a retired nurse and professor of nursing, served as a community nurse for economically disadvantaged families living with Sickle Cell Disease. From her mother, Jackson says, she learned the importance of expanding access to quality early childhood education and health care.

Upon receiving her Master of Divinity, Jackson became an Episcopal priest. During 10 years of ministry, she served as a college chaplain, a nationally renowned consultant and preacher, a parish priest, and a social justice advocate.

Jackson is already known in Georgia’s halls of power. In 2018, the Georgia House of Representatives commended her for her “tireless efforts on behalf of the disenfranchised, disenchanted, and dispossessed.”

Jackson currently serves as the Vicar at the Episcopal Church of the Common Ground in Atlanta. She and her spouse, Trina, live on a small hobby farm in Stone Mountain with two Great Pyrenees dogs, goats, bees, ducks, chickens and a cat.

For more information, go to her campaign website.

Jabari Brisport (NY-25)

“With working-class New Yorkers struggling and our planet under threat, we can’t just talk about progressive change. It’s time for us to act.”

That is the rallying cry from Jabari Brisport, a third generation Carribean-American resident of Brooklyn who is running to be state senator from New York’s District 25, which includes his native Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood.

As he tells it, he has witnessed firsthand his community’s struggles with rapid gentrification, lack of investment in public schools, over policing, and the systemic racism that underlies all of these issues. His experiences as a queer, black, public school teacher, and as a proud socialist, union member, and child of an immigrant, have shaped his drive to make his community, and all New York communities, more just and equitable.

He has been endorsed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York, and former gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon.

Brisport is running on a platform that includes housing, health care, animal rights, climate, energy, immigration and criminal justice reform.

“Now more than ever, we see the dangers of our carceral, police state,” Brisport says. “We have empowered and encouraged the police to default to violence. And people of color, the poor, and the working class are often the victims. As I stand with my brothers and sisters in the streets of New York City and protest police violence, I am reminded of the many policy decisions that led us to this place. As a state senator, I will do everything I can to end policing and incarceration as we know it.”

For more information, go to his campaign website.

Pat Hackett (IN-02)

Mayor Pete Buttigieg may not be the only LGBTQ political success story to come out of South Bend, Indiana. Attorney and civic leader Pat Hackett, who lives in South Bend with her spouse Rita, is running to be the member of Congress for the Hoosier State’s 2nd congressional district.

“I am running for Congress because the House of Representatives is supposed to be the People’s House, not the house of the monied few,” says Hackett. “As an attorney, teacher, and small business owner serving our community for decades, I understand the values that unite us in Northern Indiana. I understand that our nation’s creed is dignity and justice for all, not the few, and that our individual freedoms depend on a social contract that pursues the common good.”

Hackett has served on several boards, including the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, YWCA of St. Joseph County, and as a past president of Alzheimer’s Services of Northern Indiana and the Michiana Estate Planning Council. After working for bigger law firms, she opened Hackett & Associates in 2006, where she has deepened her career-long involvement in estate planning, family law, health care law, and advocacy as a trial attorney. She’s also an adjunct assistant professor at the Notre Dame Law School.

Hackett is running to address a wide variety of issues including racial justice, women’s equality, LGBTQ rights, immigration, gun safety, workers’ rights, health care and the opioid crisis.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege,” Hackett says. “The right to health care is rooted in our dignity as persons and responsibility for one another. I support universal health care coverage and believe we must move toward a Medicare for All system. It is time to assure health care coverage for all regardless of age, pre-existing conditions or economic status. The cost of health care is the leading cause of bankruptcy in America. We must decide if we want to be a country that prioritizes the health and life of its citizens over profits.”

For more information, please visit her campaign website.

Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23)

This is the second time Gina Ortiz Jones is running as the Democratic candidate in Texas’ 23rd congressional district. Two years ago, she narrowly lost to incumbent Will Hurd. He is a relatively centrist Republican also the only African-American Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives.

But Hurd is not running again, leaving the path open for an Ortiz Jones victory in November.

She is a first-generation American daughter of a single mother who immigrated from the Philippines. She grew up in San Antonio and hopes to represent the district that stretches from that city to El Paso and includes 550 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s also the only remaining district along the border represented by a Republican.

She attended college on a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship, became a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, served in the Iraq War, and eventually reached the rank of captain. She served under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, meaning she would have lost her scholarship if her sexual orientation had been revealed.

“Forty-one years ago, my mother came to this country as a domestic helper. After graduating from the number one university in the Philippines, she jumped at the opportunity to come here, because America is the land of opportunity,” Ortiz Jones says as to why she is running for Congress. “That is our country’s promise to anyone willing to work hard, and it’s a promise that I’ve been fortunate to live. But that promise is under threat, and we need leaders willing to protect it.”

For more information, visit her campaign website