New report sheds light on challenges faced by Black LGBTQ political candidates

rainbow flag waving in the wind
Rainbow Flag, photo by Köln

A recent report published by the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute and Loyola Marymount University has unveiled the experiences of Black LGBTQ political candidates across the United States. Titled “The Experiences of Black LGBTQ+ Candidates,” the report delves into the obstacles encountered by Black LGBTQ individuals seeking elected office, as well as the current state of Black LGBTQ political representation.

According to the findings, there are currently 142 Black LGBTQ elected officials in the U.S., constituting a mere 0.03% of all elected officials. To achieve equitable representation, an additional 2,453 Black LGBTQ individuals must be elected to various levels of government.

The report highlights the prevalence of racism and anti-LGBTQ prejudice faced by Black LGBTQ candidates during their campaigns. Approximately 36% of respondents reported experiencing racism, while 31.9% encountered prejudice due to their sexual orientation. Additionally, four out of five candidates noted biases within political organizations favoring white candidates over Black candidates.

Homophobic and transphobic attacks were pervasive, with nearly 75% of candidates facing such assaults during their campaigns. Moreover, a significant portion of candidates (43%) incurred personal debt as a result of campaign expenses.

The report, authored by Elliot Imse and Gabriele Magni, underscores the need for concerted efforts to address the unique challenges faced by Black LGBTQ candidates. It was produced through a collaboration between the LGBTQ+ Politics Research Initiative at Loyola Marymount University, the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute, and the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund’s Black Leaders Caucus.

In response to the findings, Annise Parker, President & CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute, stated, “It’s imperative that we increase Black LGBTQ+ political representation at every level of government, and this research is an important step in the process of recognizing and addressing the challenges these candidates face.” She also added, “A government that reflects the people it serves can restore belief in democracy and encourage others to participate, including by voting, at a critical time in our nation’s history.”

As the nation grapples with issues of equity and representation, the report serves as a call to action to empower and support Black LGBTQ individuals in their pursuit of elected office. Through advocacy and engagement, advocates say strides can be made toward creating a more inclusive and representative political landscape.