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List of LGBT members of the United States Congress

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As of November 2023, 32 members of the LGBT community are known to have held office in the United States Congress. In the House, 30 LGBT people held office; in the Senate, 4 held office. Two people, Tammy Baldwin, and Kyrsten Sinema, served in the House and were later elected into the Senate. The earliest known LGBT congressperson was Ed Koch, who began his term in the House in 1969. The earliest known LGBT senator is Harris Wofford, who began his term in 1991. Both men were not out during their tenure: Koch's sexuality was confirmed after his death and Wofford announced his plans to marry a man over 20 years after serving in the Senate. There are no known transgender congresspeople.

There are 12 openly LGBT members of the current (118th) Congress, all of whom are Democrats or aligned with Democrats. Three are senators and the rest are House representatives. This constitutes the second highest number of LGBT congresspeople serving at the same time in U.S. history.[a][1][2]

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Transcription

Senate

 Came out after serving

Senator Party State Term Notes
Start End Length of
service
Harris Wofford Democratic Pennsylvania May 8, 1991 Jan 13, 1995 3 years, 250 days Announced his marriage to a man in 2016.[3][4]
Tammy Baldwin Democratic Wisconsin Jan 3, 2013 Incumbent 11 years, 171 days As an openly lesbian woman, Baldwin is the first openly LGBT senator.[1][5][6]
Kyrsten Sinema Democratic
(2019–2022)
Arizona Jan 3, 2019 Incumbent 5 years, 171 days Sinema is the first openly bisexual senator.[1][7]
Independent
(2022–present)
Laphonza Butler Democratic California Oct 3, 2023 Incumbent 263 days Butler is openly lesbian and is the first openly LGBT African-American senator.[8][9]

House of Representatives

 Came out after serving  Posthumously identified as LGBT

Representative Party State Term Notes
Start End Length of
service
Ed Koch Democratic New York Jan 3, 1969 Dec 31, 1977 8 years, 362 days Koch denied he was gay throughout his life, but a 2022 article in The New York Times identified him as such.[10]
Stewart McKinney Republican Connecticut Jan 3, 1971 May 7, 1987 16 years, 124 days After dying in office of AIDS, McKinney was outed as bisexual in his obituary.[4][11][12][13][14][15]
Barbara Jordan Democratic Texas Jan 3, 1973 Jan 3, 1979 6 years, 0 days Jordan's domestic partnership with Nancy Earl was revealed in her obituary in 1996, making her the first LGBT woman in Congress (per the U.S. National Archives).[16][17]
Gerry Studds Democratic Massachusetts Jan 3, 1973 Jan 3, 1997 24 years, 0 days Studds came out as gay as a result of his implication in the 1983 congressional page sex scandal.[18] He became the first openly LGBT person to win election to Congress with his reelection in 1984.[4]
Robert Bauman Republican Maryland Aug 21, 1973 Jan 3, 1981 7 years, 135 days Bauman was outed as gay in October 1980 while in office, making him the first openly LGBT member of Congress.[19][20][4]
Jon Hinson Republican Mississippi Jan 3, 1979 Apr 13, 1981 2 years, 100 days Hinson was outed as gay after being arrested on a charge of oral sodomy on February 4, 1981.[21][4]
Barney Frank Democratic Massachusetts Jan 3, 1981 Jan 3, 2013 32 years, 0 days Frank came out as gay in 1987 and in 2012 became the first member of Congress in a same-sex marriage.[4][22][23]
Steve Gunderson Republican Wisconsin Jan 3, 1981 Jan 3, 1997 16 years, 0 days Gunderson was outed as gay on the floor of the House in 1994, Gunderson was the first openly gay Republican to be reelected after being outed.[24][25][4]
Jim Kolbe Republican Arizona Jan 3, 1985 Jan 3, 2007 22 years, 0 days Kolbe came out as gay while in office after voting for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. He was the first openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention.[26][27][28][4]
Michael Huffington Republican California Jan 3, 1993 Jan 3, 1995 2 years, 0 days. Huffington came out as bisexual in 1998[4][29]
Mark Foley Republican Florida Jan 3, 1995 Sep 29, 2006 11 years, 269 days Foley came out as gay after being implicated in a 2006 congressional page scandal.[30]
Tammy Baldwin Democratic Wisconsin Jan 3, 1999 Jan 3, 2013 14 years, 0 days Baldwin is openly lesbian, and was the first openly LGBT non-incumbent elected to Congress.[5][4]
Mike Michaud Democratic Maine Jan 3, 2003 Jan 3, 2015 12 years, 0 days Michaud came out as gay in 2013.[31][32][4]
Jared Polis Democratic Colorado Jan 3, 2009 Jan 3, 2019 10 years, 0 days In 2011, Polis became the first same-sex parent in Congress.[4][33][6][34]
Aaron Schock Republican Illinois Jan 3, 2009 Mar 31, 2015 6 years, 87 days Schock came out as gay in 2020.[35]
David Cicilline Democratic Rhode Island Jan 3, 2011 May 31, 2023 12 years, 148 days Cicilline is openly gay.[1][4][6]
Sean Patrick Maloney Democratic New York Jan 3, 2013 Jan 3, 2023 10 years, 0 days Maloney is openly gay.[1][4][6] In 2014, he married his longtime partner.[36]
Mark Pocan Democratic Wisconsin Jan 3, 2013 Incumbent 11 years, 171 days Pocan is openly gay and the first LGBT member of Congress to replace another LGBT member of Congress (Tammy Baldwin) and the first non-incumbent in a same-sex marriage elected to Congress.[1][4][6][37]
Kyrsten Sinema Democratic Arizona Jan 3, 2013 Jan 3, 2019 6 years, 0 days Sinema was the first openly bisexual member of Congress.[4][6][38]
Mark Takano Democratic California Jan 3, 2013 Incumbent 11 years, 171 days Takano is openly gay and the first openly LGBT person of color (specifically Asian American) elected to Congress.[1][6]
Angie Craig Democratic Minnesota Jan 3, 2019 Incumbent 5 years, 171 days Craig is openly lesbian and the first non-incumbent LGBT parent elected to Congress.[1][39]
Sharice Davids Democratic Kansas Jan 3, 2019 Incumbent 5 years, 171 days Davids is openly lesbian and the first openly LGBT woman of color (specifically Native American) elected to Congress.[1][40]
Katie Hill Democratic California Jan 3, 2019 Nov 1, 2019 302 days Hill is openly bisexual.[41]
Chris Pappas Democratic New Hampshire Jan 3, 2019 Incumbent 5 years, 171 days Pappas is openly gay.[1][42]
Mondaire Jones Democratic New York Jan 3, 2021 Jan 3, 2023 2 years, 0 days Along with Ritchie Torres, Jones was the first openly gay African American elected to Congress.[1][43]
Ritchie Torres Democratic New York Jan 3, 2021 Incumbent 3 years, 171 days Along with Mondaire Jones, Torres was the first openly gay African American elected to Congress,[43] and the first openly gay Hispanic member of Congress.[1]
Becca Balint Democratic Vermont Jan 3, 2023 Incumbent 1 year, 171 days Balint is openly lesbian.[44]
Robert Garcia Democratic California Jan 3, 2023 Incumbent 1 year, 171 days Garcia is openly gay.[45]
George Santos Republican New York Jan 3, 2023 Dec 1, 2023 332 days Santos is openly gay[46] and the first openly LGBT non-incumbent Republican elected to Congress[b]
Eric Sorensen Democratic Illinois Jan 3, 2023 Incumbent 1 year, 171 days Sorensen is openly gay.[48]

Shadow representatives

Representative Party Jurisdiction Term Notes
Start End Length of service
Sabrina Sojourner Democratic District of Columbia Jan 3, 1997 Jan 3, 1999 2 years, 0 days Sojourner came out as lesbian in 1976.[49][50]

Histograph of openly-serving LGBT members of Congress

Starting Total Graph Event
March 4, 1789 0    
October 3, 1980 1
Increase Robert Bauman outed
January 3, 1981 0
Decrease Robert Bauman lost reelection
February 4, 1981 1
Increase Jon Hinson outed
April 13, 1981 0
Decrease Jon Hinson resigned
July 14, 1983 1
Increase Gerry Studds comes out
May 29, 1987 2
Increase Barney Frank comes out
March 24, 1994 3
Increase Steve Gunderson outed
August 1, 1996 4
Increase Jim Kolbe comes out
January 3, 1997 2
Decrease Gerry Studds and Steve Gunderson retired
January 3, 1999 3
Increase Tammy Baldwin elected to the House
January 3, 2007 2
Decrease Jim Kolbe retired
January 3, 2009 3
Increase Jared Polis elected
January 3, 2011 4
Increase David Cicilline elected
January 3, 2011 7
Increase Tammy Baldwin moved from House to Senate; Sean Patrick Maloney, Mark Pocan, Kyrsten Sinema, and Mark Takano elected; Barney Frank retired
November 4, 2013 8
Increase Mike Michaud comes out
January 3, 2015 7
Decrease Mike Michaud retired
January 3, 2019 10
Increase Kyrsten Sinema moved from House to Senate; Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, Katie Hill, and Chris Pappas elected; Jared Polis retired
November 1, 2019 9
Decrease Katie Hill resigned
January 3, 2021 11
Increase Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres elected
January 3, 2023 13
Increase Becca Balint, Robert Garcia, George Santos, and Eric Sorensen elected; Mondaire Jones lost renomination; Sean Patrick Maloney lost reelection
June 1, 2023 12
Decrease David Cicilline resigned
October 4, 2023 13
Increase Laphonza Butler appointed
December 1, 2023 12
Decrease George Santos expelled

See also

Notes

  1. ^ From the start of the 118th Congress until the resignation of Rep. David Cicilline (D–CT) on Jun. 1, 2023, and again from the appointment of Sen. Laphonza Butler (D–CA) on Oct. 4, 2023, until the expulsion of Rep. George Santos (R–NY) on Dec. 1, 2023, there were 13 total LGBT members of Congress.
  2. ^ Incidentally, this also marked the first election in which both major party candidates (Santos and Democrat Rob Zimmerman) were openly LGBT[47]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Flores, Andrew; Gossett, Charles; Magni, Gabriele; Reynolds, Andrew (November 30, 2020). "11 openly LGBTQ lawmakers will take their seats in the next Congress. That's a record in both numbers and diversity". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  2. ^ LeBlanc, Paul. "Rep. Katie Hill announces resignation amid allegations of improper relationships with staffers". CNN. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  3. ^ Wofford, Harris (April 23, 2016). "Finding love again, this time with a man". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2016. Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall – straight, gay or in between. I don't categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Illsley, C. L. (May 31, 2019). "Openly LGBT Members Of Congress". WorldAtlas. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  5. ^ a b O'Brien, Brendan (October 19, 2012). "Wisconsin's Baldwin becomes first openly gay senator". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g Olugbemiga, Ayobami (February 4, 2014). "Capitol Hill: The 7 Openly Gay and Lesbian Members of Congress". DC Inno. Business Journals. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  7. ^ Vagianos, Alanna (January 3, 2019). "Kyrsten Sinema Makes History As First Openly Bisexual Person Sworn In To Senate". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Reston, Maeve; Pager, Tyler (October 1, 2023). "Newsom taps Emily's List leader to fill Feinstein's Senate seat". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  9. ^ Hubler, Shawn (October 1, 2023). "Newsom Names Emily's List President as Feinstein Successor". The New York Times. Retrieved October 2, 2023.
  10. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt; Goldensohn, Rosa (May 7, 2022). "The Secrets Ed Koch Carried". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  11. ^ "AIDS Makes Another Chilling Advance, Claiming the Life of a Congressman". People. May 25, 1987. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  12. ^ Houston, Paul (May 8, 1987). "Connecticut's McKinney, GOP Liberal, Dies of AIDS". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  13. ^ Kimmey, Samantha (December 20, 2012). "Rep. Barney Frank Comments on Scalia, Prostitution, Marijuana and More". The Raw Story. Archived from the original on September 3, 2014. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  14. ^ "Congressman Killed by AIDS Led Secret Life, Gay Man Claims". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. August 23, 1989. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  15. ^ May, Clifford D. (May 9, 1987). "Friends Say McKinney Had Homosexual Sex". The New York Times. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  16. ^ Bartgis, Rachel (June 10, 2021). Kratz, Jessie (ed.). "LGBTQ+ History Month: Barbara Jordan". Pieces of History. U.S. National Archives. Archived from the original on July 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Henderson, Kali. "Barbara Jordan | LGBT African Americans (2014) by Kali Henderson and Dionn McDonald". OutHistory.org. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  18. ^ "Housecleaning". Time. July 25, 1983. Archived from the original on November 3, 2006.
  19. ^ Bauman, Robert (August 1986). The Gentleman from Maryland: The Conscience of a Gay Conservative. Arbor House. pp. 1–3. ISBN 978-0877956860.
  20. ^ Kelly, Jacques (April 5, 2008). "Whatever happened to . . . Robert E. Bauman?". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  21. ^ "Jon Hinson, 53, Congressman and Then Gay-Rights Advocate". New York Times. July 26, 1995. p. 19. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  22. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (December 3, 2012). "When Barney Frank announced he was 'coming out of the room' (er... the closet)". The Washington Post.
  23. ^ "DC's Most Influential Gay Couple Calls It Quits". Tuscaloosa News. July 3, 1998. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  24. ^ Bergling, Tim (May 11, 2004). "Closeted in the capital: they're powerful, Republican, and gay. Will the marriage battle finally get them to come out to their bosses?". The Advocate. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  25. ^ Bierbauer, Charles (November 28, 1997). "Gunderson Leaves 'Increasingly Polarized' House". CNN. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  26. ^ Dunlap, David W. (August 3, 1996). "A Republican Congressman Discloses He Is a Homosexual". New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
  27. ^ Campbell, Julia (August 1, 2000). "Openly Gay Congressman Addresses Convention". ABC News.
  28. ^ Eaklor, Vicki Lynn (2008). Queer America: a GLBT history of the 20th century. ABC-CLIO. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-313-33749-9.
  29. ^ King, Ryan James (May 22, 2006). "Michael Huffington: The long-awaited Advocate interview". The Advocate. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  30. ^ "Foley lawyer makes statement". CNN. October 2, 2006. Retrieved October 4, 2006.
  31. ^ Cousins, Christopher (November 5, 2013). "Michaud: 'I haven't changed. I'm Mike.'". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  32. ^ Michaud, Mike (November 4, 2013). "Rep. Michaud's op-ed column: Yes, I'm gay. Now let's get our state back on track". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  33. ^ Parkinson, John (September 30, 2011). "House Democrat Jared Polis Becomes First Openly Gay Parent in Congress". ABC News. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  34. ^ Anderson, James; Slevin, Colleen (January 9, 2019). "Colorado's Jared Polis Makes History as Gay Governor". Associated Press. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  35. ^ Coleman, Justin (March 5, 2020). "Former GOP Rep. Aaron Schock comes out as gay". The Hill. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  36. ^ "New York's First Openly Gay Congressman Marries Longtime Partner". NewYorkCityNews.net. Archived from the original on October 20, 2014. Retrieved June 23, 2014.
  37. ^ Craver, Jack (May 11, 2013). "Mark Pocan's husband finally recognized as congressional 'spouse'". Capital Times. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  38. ^ Fitzsimons, Tom (November 3, 2018). "Kyrsten Sinema makes history as first bisexual member of U.S. Senate". NBC News. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  39. ^ "Minnesota Democrat Angie Craig, a former health care executive, is the first lesbian mother to be elected to Congress". WJCT. Retrieved January 19, 2021.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ Sopelsa, Brooke; Fitzsimons, Tim (November 7, 2018). "Sharice Davids, a lesbian Native American, makes political history in Kansas". NBC News. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  41. ^ North, Anna (October 28, 2019). "Revenge porn, biphobia, and alleged relationships with staffers: The complicated story around Rep. Katie Hill, explained". Vox. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
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  43. ^ a b Avery, Dan (November 6, 2020). "Mondaire Jones joins Ritchie Torres as first gay Black men elected to Congress". NBC News. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  44. ^ Rathke, Lisa (November 8, 2022). "Becca Balint becomes Vermont's 1st woman elected to Congress". PBS News Hour.
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  48. ^ Denham, Ryan; Johnson, Brady; Shelley, Tim (November 9, 2022). "Eric Sorensen declares victory in 17th Congressional District". WGLT.
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  50. ^ Yeager, Kenneth S. (2019). Trailblazers : profiles of America's gay and lesbian elected officials. Routledge. ISBN 9781317712305. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
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