Lori Lightfoot is the highest-ranking LGBT person ever elected mayor of an American city
Lesbian mayoral candidates won big victories this week in Chicago, Kansas City and Madison. It raises the possibility that the number of lesbian mayors elected to major American cities could triple in 2019. Satya Rhodes-Conway became the first openly LGBTQ person elected mayor of Madison, Wisconsin. Jolie Justus placed in the Kansas City mayoral primary and will advance to the general election in June. Justus would be the first openly LGBT major city mayor in the American Heartland if elected.
Lori Lightfoot won in Chicago, Satya Rhodes-Conway won in Madison, and Jolie Justus placed in her primary and will advance to the general
Last month, Jane Castor placed first in the Tampa mayoral election and is the frontrunner for the runoff election on April 23, 2019. If victorious, she will be the first openly LGBT mayor of a major city in the Southeast.
Only two openly lesbian women have ever served as mayors of a top 100 city. Former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, now President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, and current Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan. If Justus and Castor win their elections, that will raise the number to six, tripling the number in just one election cycle. It could make 2019 the Year of the Lesbian Mayor.
Mayor Annise Parker, was the highest-ranking LGBT person ever elected mayor until Lightfoot’s victory. “These historic victories leave us well-positioned to make 2019 the year of the lesbian mayor — potentially tripling the number of lesbians elected major city mayors in just one cycle,” said Parker. “Lesbian mayors bring unique experiences and perspectives to the position that make them more empathetic, principled and values-driven leaders — and voters in cities as diverse as Chicago, Kansas City, Madison and Tampa are clearly responding to that.”
Currently two openly LGBT mayors are serving in top 100 cities
The six openly LGBT people elected mayor of a top 100 city are:
- Sam Adams, Mayor Portland (2009 – 2012)
- Jenny Durkan, Mayor Seattle (2017 – present)
- Robert Garcia, Mayor Long Beach (2014 – present)
- Jim Gray, Mayor Lexington (2011 – 2019)
- Ed Murray, Mayor Seattle (2014 – 2017)
- Annise Parker, Mayor Houston (2010 – 2016)
In New Jersey we have four LGBT mayors currently in 2019. They are:
- Julia Fahl, Lambertville Mayor
- Betsy Driver, Flemington Borough Mayor
- Bruce Harris, Chatham Borough Mayor
- Reed Gusciora, Trenton Mayor
There are 34 other openly LGBT people currently serving as mayors in cities large and small. All the names are available on LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Out for America elected officials map.