It was a huge night for out queer politicians Tuesday night as Lori Lightfoot becomes first LGBTQ mayor of Chicago and Satya Rhodes-Conway becomes the first LGBTQ elected mayor of Madison, Wisconsin. And, Jolie Justus performed well enough in her race to become Kansas City, Missouri’s first LGBTQ mayor by winning enough votes in last night’s primary to advance to general election in June.
Lightfoot and Rhodes-Conway join Seattle’s own out mayor, Jenny Durkan to become the chief executives in major U.S. cities.
Washington, DC – Lesbian mayoral candidates won big victories tonight in Chicago, Kansas City and Madison – raising the possibility that the number of lesbian mayors elected to major American cities could triple in 2019. Lori Lightfoot became the highest-ranking LGBTQ person ever elected mayor of an American city with her victory in Chicago. Satya Rhodes-Conway became the first openly LGBTQ person elected mayor of Madison, Wisconsin, and Jolie Justus placed in the Kansas City mayoral primary and will advance to the general election in June. Justus would be the first openly LGBTQ major city mayor in the American Heartland if elected.
Last month, Jane Castor placed first in the Tampa mayoral election and is the frontrunner for the run-off election on April 23. If victorious, she will be the first openly LGBTQ 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 and making 2019 the Year of the Lesbian Mayor.
Mayor Annise Parker, who was the highest-ranking LGBTQ person ever elected mayor until Lightfoot’s victory tonight, is on-the-ground in Chicago and is available to speak with media. Contact Elliot Imse, Senior Director of Communications at Victory Fund, at 646.957.4740 firstname.lastname@example.org to request an interview this evening or tomorrow.
“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 Mayor 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 there are just two openly LGBTQ mayors serving in top 100 cities. Only six openly LGBTQ people have ever been elected mayor of a top 100 city. Those six are:
- Mayor Sam Adams, Portland (2009 – 2012)
- Mayor Jenny Durkan, Seattle (2017 – present)
- Mayor Robert Garcia, Long Beach (2014 – present)
- Mayor Jim Gray, Lexington (2011 – 2019)
- Mayor Ed Murray (2014 – 2017)
- Mayor Annise Parker, Houston (2010 – 2016)
There are 38 openly LGBTQ people currently serving as mayors in cities large and small. Their names are available on LGBTQ Victory Institute’s Out for America elected officials map.
LGBTQ Victory Fund
LGBTQ Victory Fund works to change the face and voice of America’s politics and achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans by increasing the number of openly LGBTQ elected officials at all levels of government.