8 LGBTQ candidates who could make history in November


Even though it’s a slack year for elections, there are still plenty of people heading to the polls in the United States in November – and some of them will have the opportunity to vote for a historic LGBTQ candidate.

At least 237 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gay candidates will be on the ballot on Nov. 2, up 18.5% from the last off-year election in 2019, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund political action committee. .

At least eight of these political hopes, highlighted below, will have the opportunity to be a historic first.

Liliana Bakhtiari.Michael A. Schwarz

Site: Atlanta, Georgia

Running for: Atlanta City Council, District 5

If elected, would be the first to come out: Elected queer muslim in Georgia

When they ran for Atlanta city council in 2017, Liliana Bakhtiari was only 252 votes away from beating a 16-year-old incumbent. This year, they will try again to win a seat in a widely open field of five unincorporated candidates.

Born and raised in Atlanta, Bakhtiari lives with their partner Kris, the German Shepherd Pepe and their “many” rescue cats. Their previous work in 26 countries inspired their activism on affordable housing, sustainable infrastructure and government transparency. They are also involved in many nonprofits including Georgia Equality and Black Futures Matter.

Christophe Coburn.Leanna Joy Photography

Site: Bozeman, Montana

Running for: Bozeman Town Commission

If elected, would be the first to come out: Elected black queer in Montana

Christopher Coburn’s interest in public health arose in part from his upbringing: he said his mother used public programs to help him raise him, like Head Start and WIC, a supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children. He now holds a master’s degree in public health from the University of Montana, serves on the City and County of Gallatin Board of Health, and works for the local not-for-profit Bozeman Health system.

Coburn was appointed to the Bozeman Town Commission in April to fill a vacant seat, but now must win one of two places in a three-way race in the Nov. 2 election to secure a four-year term.

“It has always been extremely important to me to make sure that I use my voice to amplify the needs of people like me who are not typically represented in decision-making spaces in Montana,” Coburn told NBC News. . “As City Commissioner, I will fight to make Bozeman the kind of equitable and inclusive community we all deserve. ”

Crystal Hudson.Katrina Hajagos

Site: New York, New York

Running for: New York City Council, District 35

If elected, would be the first to come out: Black queer woman on New York City Council

Crystal Hudson, a “shameless pro-black, pro-queer, pro-justice” candidate, hopes to make sweeping changes in Brooklyn’s neighborhoods of Prospect Heights, Crown Heights, Fort Greene, Clinton Hill and Bedford-Stuyvesant. From education to climate justice to care for the elderly, Hudson’s vision includes a “black agenda for New York City” because “when black New Yorkers prosper, all New Yorkers thrive ”.

When the Covid-19 pandemic erupted in her area, Hudson, a third generation resident of Prospect Heights, created Greater Prospect Heights Mutual Aid, a group of neighbors helping neighbors access food and other resources. .

Nick Kor.Jonathan Heu

Site: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Running for: Minneapolis City Council Ward 7

If elected, would be the first to come out: Queer Asian American on Minneapolis City Council

Minneapolis residents will vote on the city’s leadership on Nov. 2 for the first time since George Floyd’s murder rocked the country last year. Nick Kor is one of three candidates challenging 23-year-old incumbent Lisa Goodman to represent Ward 7.

Restructuring public safety is a key part of his platform, and unlike Goodman, Kor supports the city charter amendment that Minneapolis voters will decide next week to replace the city’s police force. by a Department of Public Safety, calling it opportunity in a generation.

“All eyes are on Minneapolis at this pivotal moment after the murder of George Floyd. I am running because I believe we must seize this opportunity to make our community safer and more equitable for all by broadening our approach to public safety. It will take courageous leaders who listen, ”he told NBC News in an email. “As a queer and Asian American organizer who has dedicated his career to racial justice and LGBTQ +, and as a former director of the MN Human Rights Department, I know Minneapolitans can building this future, together. ”

Jae Moyer.Cate eighmey

Site: Johnson County, Kansas

Running for: Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees

If elected, would be the first to come out: Kansas non-binary elected

Jae Moyer, 22, is studying political science at Johnson County Community College. Previously, they had studied musical theater at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. Moyer, who is openly homosexual and gender nonconforming, hopes their portrayal will help other students “grow and understand and understand each other.”

“My platform is ‘Equality, Education, Opportunity’,” Moyer told NBC News in an email. “My goal is to remove all possible barriers to accessibility to higher education here in Johnson County. I want to focus on creating a multicultural center on campus, and also make sure educators feel their voice is heard and that they feel respected on campus so that they are better prepared. to provide quality education. If I am elected, I hope to be a voice that represents my generation and my community.

Sheila Nezhad.Maxwell Pass

Site: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Running for: Mayor of Minneapolis

If elected, would be the first to come out: LGBTQ Mayor of Minnesota

Sheila Nezhad said she was inspired to run for office after the unprecedented year of 2020 changed her and her city. She hopes to put what she’s learned from years of organizing and activism for LGBTQ rights, a minimum wage of $ 15 and alternatives to the police to use as mayor of Minneapolis. She is one of the top contenders in a crowded estate looking to oust incumbent mayor Jacob Frey.

Nezhad said that even her name started her with “a life of building cross-cultural movements.” Her first and middle names, Sheila June, come from her father’s Persian side and her American mother’s Anishinaabe-Swedish-Norwegian heritage, while her last name, Nezhad, means “the people”. Self-proclaimed “proud nerd”, her personal motto is: “From the streets to spreadsheets!” “

Alex Orenstein.Bex Tasker

Site: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Running for: District Magistral Judge, 05-03-10

If elected, would be the first to come out: Non-binary member of the American justice system

Xander Orenstein grew up in Maryland in an Orthodox Jewish community, where they said they learned the value of helping others from a young age by watching their parents provide free medical care to community members. Orenstein said their family has always favored relationships over material things after three of their grandparents survived the Holocaust.

Orenstein became a scientist and organizer, but lost his job when the pandemic hit. The pandemic has brought to light so many problems with the justice system that Orenstein said he decided, following a judge’s suggestion, to run as a district judge, realizing that being a lawyer is not a requirement. They believe in “restorative justice, not summary punishment” and bail reform.

“The justice system has the potential to defend equality and ensure everyone has access to fair treatment under the law,” Orenstein told NBC News in an email. “In reality, laws tend to be enforced and enforced in ways that harm the most vulnerable. It is common for those with resources to have better access to the parts of the system that provide them the most benefit, while those without resources have to work much harder and risk a lot more to stand a chance. get a similar result.

“As a magistrate, I hope to alleviate the damage done to those for whom the system was not intentionally built and to focus justice on restoration, community building and compassion rather than punishment,” said said Orenstein. “With the long-term good of the individual and the community in mind, rather than just short-term stopgaps to problems, we can work towards lasting solutions that do more than just maintain the status quo.”

Gabriela Santiago-Romero.Eric Thomas

Site: Detroit, Michigan

Running for: Detroit City Council, District 6

If elected, would be the first to come out: LGBTQ Advisor in Detroit

“Growing up as an immigrant in poverty in southwest Detroit forced me to see and learn things the hard way,” organizer Gabriela Santiago-Romero said on her campaign website.

An immigrant from Mexico, her platform includes supporting residents rather than investing in punitive measures, alongside workers for fair wages and improving access to affordable housing.

Santiago-Romero has secured several key mentions in the race against his opponent, Hector Santiago (unrelated), including those from outgoing city councilor Raquel Castaneda-Lopez and US representative Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.

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