The year of lesbian mayoralty


Tampa’s Jane Castor joins Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, Wis.

Jane Castor won the Tampa mayoral runoff, becoming the first openly LGBT person elected mayor of a top 100 city in the Southeast. Castor is the third out lesbian to win a major mayoral race in 2019, doubling the total number of lesbians who have ever served as a big city mayor. Castor joins Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Satya Rhodes-Conway of Madison, Wis., who won their respective elections earlier this month.

“A lavender ceiling was shattered in Florida Tuesday night—with voters overwhelmingly electing Jane Castor the first openly lesbian big-city mayor in the Southeastern United States,” said president and CEO of LGBT Victory Fund Annise Parker. “LGBTQ people and women face tremendous obstacles in running for public office, but Jane’s victory shows lesbian candidates can win citywide office with a strong record of public service and policy priorities that align with their constituents. While voters chose Jane because of her vision for Tampa, her willingness to be open and honest about her life lent her an authenticity that voters are drawn to not just in Tampa, but across the nation. That is why an unprecedented number of lesbian candidates are plowing through crowded primaries and winning big-city mayoral races this cycle—putting us on-track to make 2019 the Year of the Lesbian Mayor.”

Parker was the first openly LGBT mayor of a top five American city when she served as Houston’s mayor. Only five out lesbians have been elected mayor of top 100 cities, three in this year alone. If Jolie Justus wins her run for mayor of Kansas City in June, it will bring the number up to six.

The list:

  • Mayor Annise Parker, Houston (2010-16)
  • Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle (2017-present)
  • Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Madison (2019-present)
  • Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, Chicago (2019-present)
  • Mayor-elect Jane Castor, Tampa (2019-present)

J.L. Gaynor is Out In Jersey’s news editor, having spent eight years in the newsrooms of two major New Jersey papers. A Jersey girl through and through: born, raised, and educated in New Jersey. She has two dogs she adores, and reads just about anything she can get her hands on.