List of first openly LGBT politicians in the United States

From EverybodyWiki Bios & Wiki

This is a list of the first openly LGBT people to have held political office in the United States.

  • All 50 states have elected openly LGBT people to political office in some capacity.
  • 48 states have elected openly LGBT people to one or both houses of the state legislature.
  • As of 2020, President Trump is the first President to appoint an open member of the LGBT community in the form of Richard Grenell to a position in the Presidential Cabinet. However, Grenell was Acting Director of National Intelligence, a temporary position, and was never put forward for Senate confirmation.[1] Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, who served from 1933-1945 under FDR, was in a relationship with a woman, but when she was serving in the Cabinet her sexual orientation was not public knowledge. [2] Pete Buttigieg was nominated by Joe Biden for the position of Secretary of Transportation and will be the first openly LGBT Senate-confirmed Cabinet member if confirmed.
  • 8 states and 1 territory have elected openly LGBT people to statewide/territory-wide elected offices, all of whom are currently in office: Jared Polis (Governor of Colorado), Kate Brown (Governor of Oregon), Tammy Baldwin (United States Senator from Wisconsin), Kyrsten Sinema (United States Senator from Arizona), Maura Healey (Attorney General of Massachusetts), Dana Nessel (Attorney General of Michigan), Ricardo Lara (Insurance Commissioner of California), Kevin Lembo (Comptroller of Connecticut), Josh Tenorio (Lieutenant Governor of Guam), and Benjamin Cruz (Public Auditor of Guam).
  • 3 of the 8 most populous cities in the United States have elected openly LGBT people as mayor: Lori Lightfoot (Mayor of Chicago), Todd Gloria (Mayor of San Diego) & Annise Parker (former Mayor of Houston).
  • No openly LGBT person has served as president or vice president of the United States or as a justice on the Supreme Court of the United States.



  • U.S. representative (first out congressperson and Democrat): Gerry Studds[3] (MA-12, MA-10) – served 1973–1997, outed 1983
  • U.S. representative (first to voluntarily come out): Barney Frank (MA-4) – served 1980–2013, came out in 1987
  • U.S. representative (first out Republican): Steve Gunderson (WI-3) – served 1981–1997, outed 1994
  • U.S. representative (first Republican to voluntarily come out): Jim Kolbe (AZ-5) – served 1985–2007, came out 1996
  • U.S. representative (out when first elected, female): Tammy Baldwin (WI-2) – served 1999–2013
  • U.S. representative (out when first elected, male): Jared Polis (CO-2) – served 2009–2019
  • U.S. representative (out when first elected), first openly bisexual member of Congress: Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-9) – elected 2012[4]
  • U.S. representative (out when first elected), first to succeed another openly gay officeholder in office: Mark Pocan (WI-2) – elected 2012, succeeded Tammy Baldwin
  • U.S. representative (out when first elected), first non-white openly gay member of Congress: Mark Takano (CA-41) – elected 2012
  • U.S. Congressional committee chair: Gerry Studds – chair of House Committee on Merchant Marine and Fisheries 1992–1995
  • U.S. Senator (out when first elected, first openly LGBT U.S. Senator): Tammy Baldwin – elected 2012, lesbian, representing Wisconsin[5]
  • U.S. Senator (out when first elected), first openly bisexual member of the U.S. Senate – Kyrsten Sinema – elected 2018, representing Arizona

By state delegation[edit]

  • Arizona
    • Rep. Jim Kolbe (R) – served 1985–2007; outed in 1996
    • Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) – served 2013–2019; out when elected
    • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D) – elected 2018; out when elected
  • California:
    • Rep. Mark Takano (D) – elected 2012; out when elected
  • Colorado:
    • Rep. Jared Polis (D) – served 2009–2019; out when elected
  • Florida:
    • Rep. Mark Foley (R) – served 1995–2006; outed in 2006
  • Kansas
    • Rep. Sharice Davids (D) – elected 2018; out when elected
  • Maine:
    • Rep. Mike Michaud (D) – served 2003–2015; came out in 2014
  • Maryland:
    • Rep. Robert Bauman (R) – served 1973–1981; outed in 1980
  • Massachusetts:
    • Rep. Gerry Studds (D) – served 1973–1997; outed in 1983
    • Rep. Barney Frank (D) – served 1980–2013; came out in 1987
  • Minnesota:
    • Rep. Angie Craig (D) – elected 2018; out when elected and first lesbian mother in Congress
  • Mississippi
    • Rep. Jon Hinson (R) – served 1979–1981; outed in 1981
  • New Hampshire:
    • Rep. Chris Pappas (D) – elected 2018; out when elected
  • New York:
    • Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D) – elected 2012; out when elected
  • Rhode Island:
    • Rep. David Cicilline (D) – elected 2010; out when elected
  • Wisconsin:
    • Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) – elected 2012; out when elected
    • Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) – served 1999–2013; out when elected
    • Rep. Steve Gunderson (R) – served 1981–1997; came out in 1994
    • Rep. Mark Pocan (D) – elected 2012; out when elected


  • First LGBT Cabinet Secretary: Frances Perkins (1933-1945) - Secretary of Labor [6]
  • First openly LGBT person appointed to a federal position requiring confirmation by the United States Senate: Roberta Achtenberg, as assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (1993)[7] She later became a commissioner for the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 2011.[8]
  • First openly gay Secretary of Transportation: Pete Buttigieg (nominated)
  • Ambassador: James Hormel (served 1999–2001 in Luxembourg)
  • Cabinet level official: Richard Grenell (2020) – Director of National Intelligence (acting, was never confirmed or put up for confirmation)[9]
  • Head of a federal agency: John Berry (2009–2013) – Director of the Office of Personnel Management [10]
  • United States marshal: Sharon Lubinski (2009–2016) – U.S. marshal for the District of Minnesota[11]
  • United States attorney: Jenny Durkan (2009–2014) – U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington[12]
  • Commissioner of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Chai Feldblum (2010)[13]
  • Secretary of the Army: Eric Fanning – appointed 2016[14]


Overall firsts[edit]

  • First openly lesbian or gay candidate elected to a state legislature – Elaine Noble (D), Massachusetts House of Representatives; Elected in 1974, served two terms starting in January 1975, open when elected.[15]
  • First openly transgender state legislator – Althea Garrison (R), Massachusetts House of Representatives; Elected in 1992, outed involuntarily after election but before taking office. Served openly from 1993–1995.
  • First openly gay president of a city council — Harry Britt, President of the San Francisco City-County Board of Supervisors from 1989 to 1990.[16]
  • First openly gay state comptroller – Ed Flanagan (D), Vermont Auditor of Accounts; served four terms: first elected 1992, came out in 1995; was subsequently reelected.[17][18]
  • First openly gay governor – Jim McGreevey (D), governor of New Jersey – came out 2004 (during the same speech in which he announced his resignation as governor).[19][20]
  • First openly gay governor elected — Jared Polis (D), was elected Governor of Colorado November 6, 2018. (McGreevey was not out at the time of election)[21]
  • First openly bisexual governor and first person to be openly LGBT at time of taking office as governor – Kate Brown (D), governor of Oregon (ascended to office in 2015 after previous governor resigned, then elected in 2016 in her own right).[22][23]
  • Lieutenant governor — Josh Tenorio (D), Guam – elected 2018
  • Secretary of State — Tony Miller (D), California – appointed in 1994; lost election in 1994
  • State treasurer — Dale McCormick (D), Maine – elected (by the legislature) 1996
  • State Corporation Commission — Jim Roth (D), Oklahoma – appointed in 2007, lost election for remainder of term in 2009
  • First openly gay attorney general – Maura Healey (D), Massachusetts, elected in 2014 [24]
  • State legislative leaders:
    • Presiding officer: Minnesota sen. Allan H. Spear (D) – elected senate president 1993
    • Speaker: Rhode Island rep. Gordon D. Fox (D) – elected speaker 2010
  • First openly transgender person to 1) hold non-judicial public office in CA (appointed by RVNC Board of Directors 2017), 2) be an elected government official in the City/County of Los Angeles (2019), and 3) to be president of a City of Los Angeles certified neighborhood council (2019) – Rachael Rose Luckey

State officers by state[edit]

Constitutional officers[edit]

  • California:
    • State insurance commissioner Ricardo Lara (D) – elected 2018
  • Connecticut:
    • State comptroller: Kevin Lembo (D) — elected 2010
  • Michigan:
    • Attorney general: Dana Nessel (D) – elected 2018

Legislative officials[edit]

  • California:
    • House speaker: Rep. John Pérez (D) – elected 2010
  • Colorado:
    • House speaker: Mark Ferrandino (D) (2012)
    • House minority leader: Mark Ferrandino (D) (2011)
  • Hawaii:
    • House majority leader: Rep. Blake Oshiro (D) – elected 2008, came out 2011
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
    • Senate minority leader: Sen. Richard Tisei (R) – elected 2007, came out 2010
    • Senate majority leader: Sen. Stan Rosenberg (D) – elected 2013, came out 2009
  • Minnesota:
    • Senate president: Sen. Allan Spear (D) (1993)
  • Missouri:
    • Senate minority floor leader: Sen. Jolie Justus (D) (2012)
  • Oregon:
    • House speaker: Rep. Tina Kotek (D) – America's first openly lesbian House speaker (elected as Oregon's House speaker in 2012)[25]
  • Rhode Island:
    • House speaker: Rep. Gordon D. Fox (D) (2010)
  • Vermont:
    • President pro tempore: Sen. Becca Balint (D) (2021)
  • Washington:
    • Senate majority leader: Sen. Ed Murray (D) (2012)
  • Wyoming:
    • House minority leader: Rep. Cathy Connolly (D) (2016)

State legislators[edit]

As of the 2020 elections, the legislatures of 48 states have had at least one openly LGBT member; the first out person to serve in each of those states is listed here. The sole remaining states that have never had an openly LGBT state legislator are Mississippi and Louisiana; Mississippi has, however, had legislators who came out as gay after the end of their term in the legislature, or were outed after their deaths.

  • Alabama:
    • Rep. Patricia Todd (D) – elected 2006 (female)[26]
    • Rep. Neil Rafferty (D) — elected 2018 (male)[27]
  • Alaska:
    • Rep. Johnny Ellis (D) - elected 1986, came out 2016
  • Arizona:
    • Ken Cheuvront (D) – served in both the Arizona House of Representatives and the Arizona Senate between 1994 and 2010[28]
  • Arkansas:
    • Rep. Kathy Webb (D) – elected 2006[29]
  • California:
    • Assemblywoman (later Sen.) Sheila Kuehl (D) – elected 1994 to House; elected to Senate in 2000 – California's first openly gay state legislator[30]
    • The 2004 elections in California sent six openly LGBT people to the California State Legislature: four lesbians (Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, Senator Sheila Kuehl, and Senator Carole Migden, Senator Christine Kehoe), and two gay men (Assemblyman Mark Leno and Assemblyman John Laird).[31]
    • Rep. John Pérez (D) – first openly LGBT person to serve as speaker of the California State Assembly (appointed 2010)[32] Pérez was succeeded as speaker by Assemblywoman Toni G. Atkins (D) (elected 2014), the second openly LGBT person (and the first lesbian) to hold the post.[32]
  • Colorado General Assembly:
    • Rep. (later Sen.) Jennifer Veiga ((D) – Elected to the state House in 1996; became Colorado's first openly LGBT state legislature when she came out in 2002; subsequently reelected and served as House minority leader in 2003 (first LGBT person to hold this post); later elected to the state Senate.[33]
    • Rep. Mark Ferrandino (D) – appointed October 2007, became first openly gay man to serve in the General Assembly.[33] In 2012, Ferrandino became Colorado's first openly LGBT speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives.[34]
    • Sen. Lucía Guzmán (D) –elected 2010; first LGBT person to serve as president pro tem of the Colorado Senate[35]
    • In 2012, the first major state race in which both major-party candidates were LGBT occurred when Pat Steadman (D) and Michael Carr (R) ran against each other in Colorado's 31st state Senate district.[36]
    • Rep. Leslie Herod (D) – elected 2016;[37] first LGBT African-American to be elected to Colorado's state legislature.[38]
    • Rep. Brianna Titone (D) – elected 2018;[39] first openly transgender woman to be elected to Colorado's state legislature.[40][41]
  • Connecticut General Assembly:
    • Rep. Joseph Grabarz (D) – Connecticut's first openly LGBT state legislator; first elected in 1988; came out in December 1990.[42]
    • Rep. Evelyn Mantilla (D) – came out as America's first openly bisexual state official in 1997.[43]
  • Delaware:
    • Sen. Karen E. Peterson (D) – came out 2013
    • Sen. Sarah McBride (D) – first openly transgender state senator
  • Florida:
    • Rep. David Richardson (D) and Rep. Joe Saunders (D) – first openly gay Florida state legislators, both elected in 2012[5][44][45]
  • Georgia:
    • Rep. Karla Drenner (female) (D) – elected 2000
    • Rep. Rashad Taylor (male) (D) – elected 2008, came out 2011
    • Rep. Sam Park (male) (D) – elected 2016
  • Hawaii:
    • Rep. Joe Bertram (male) (D) – elected 2006
    • Rep. Georgette Jo Jordan (female) (Dem) – appointed January 2011; elected November 2012
    • Rep. Blake Oshiro (D) – first House majority leader, came out 2010
  • Idaho:
    • Female: Rep. (later Sen.) Nicole LeFavour (D) – elected 2004
    • Male: Rep. John McCrostie (D) – elected 2014
  • Illinois:
    • Rep. Larry McKeon (male) (D) – elected 1996
    • Rep. Deb Mell (female) (D) – elected 2009
  • Indiana:
    • Sen. J. D. Ford (male) (D) – elected 2018 [46]
  • Iowa:
    • Male: Sen. Matt McCoy (D) – came out 2004
    • Female: Rep. Liz Bennett (D) – elected 2014
    • Norman Jesse and Dan Johnston, who were first elected to the state house in 1967, were not out during their careers in politics, but came out in retirement and revealed that they had been a couple.[47]
  • Kansas:
    • Susan Ruiz (female) (D) – elected 2018
    • Brandon Woodard (male) (D) – elected 2018
    • Rep Stephanie Byers (D) – elected 2020; first openly transgender person to serve in the Kansas Legislature; first transgender Native American person elected to public office.
  • Kentucky:
    • Sen. Ernesto Scorsone (D) – came out 2003
  • Maine:
    • Sen. Dale McCormick (D) – elected 1990
  • Maryland:
    • Del. Maggie McIntosh (D) – came out 2001[48]
    • Del. Richard Madaleno (D) – elected 2002
  • Massachusetts:
    • Rep. Elaine Noble (D) – elected 1974
    • Rep. (later Sen.) Jarrett Barrios (D) – elected to House 1999, elected to Senate 2003
    • Rep. Althea Garrison (R) – elected 1993, first transgender person elected to a state legislature in the United States.
    • Sen. Cheryl Jacques (D) – elected 1993
  • Michigan:
    • Rep. Chris Kolb – elected 2000
  • Minnesota:
    • Sen. Allan Spear (D) – elected 1972, came out December 1974
    • Rep. Karen Clark (D) – elected 1981, out when first elected[49]
    • Sen. Paul Koering (R) – elected 2002; came out 2005; re-elected in 2006
  • Missouri:
    • Rep. Tim Van Zandt (D) – elected 1994
    • Rep. Jeanette Oxford (D) – elected 2004
    • Rep. Zachary Wyatt (R) – elected 2010; came out 2012
    • Sen. Jolie Justus (D) – elected 2007
    • Rep. Randy D. Dunn (D)- elected 2012
  • Montana:
    • Rep. Diane Sands (D) – appointed 1996
    • Rep. Bryce Bennett (D) – elected 2010
  • Nebraska:
    • Senator Megan Hunt – elected 2018 (first openly bisexual person ever elected to the Nebraska Legislature)
  • Nevada:
    • Assemblyman (now Sen.) David Parks (D) (male) – elected 1996
    • Senator Patricia Spearman (female) (D) – elected 2012
  • New Hampshire:
    • Rep. Raymond Buckley (male) (D) – elected 1986
    • Rep. Marlene DeChane (female) (D) – elected 1994
    • Sen. David Pierce (D) – elected 2012[5]
    • Chris Pappas (D) – elected 2012, first LGBT person ever elected to the New Hampshire Executive Council
    • Sen. Dan Innis (male) (R) – elected 2016, first LGBT person ever elected to the NH State Senate
    • Reps. Gerri Cannon and Lisa Bunker (D) – elected 2018, first openly transgender people ever seated in the NH House of Representatives
  • New Jersey:
    • Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D) – came out 2006
  • New Mexico:
    • Sen. Liz Stefanics (female) (D) – elected 1992
    • Sen. Jacob Candelaria (male) (D) – elected 2012
  • New York:
    • Rep. Deborah Glick (female) (D) – elected 1990
    • Sen. Thomas Duane (male) (D) – elected 1998
    • Rep. Micah Kellner (male; bisexual) (D) – elected 2007
    • Rep. Harry Bronson (male) (D) – elected 2010, first LGBT legislator elected from upstate New York [50][51]
  • North Carolina:
    • Sen. Julia Boseman (D) – elected 2004
    • Rep. Marcus Brandon (male) (D) – elected 2010
  • North Dakota:
    • Rep. Joshua Boschee (D) – elected 2012[5]
  • Ohio:
    • Rep. Nickie Antonio (D) – elected 2010
    • Rep. Tim Brown (R) – elected 2012
  • Oklahoma:
    • Rep. (then Sen.) Al McAffrey (male) (D) – elected 2006; elected first state senator 2012
    • Rep. Kay Floyd (female) (D) – elected 2012
  • Oregon:
    • Rep. Gail Shibley (female) D) – appointed 1991; elected 1992
    • Rep. George Eighmey (male) (D) – appointed 1993; elected 1994
    • Rep. Chuck Carpenter (R) — elected 1994, first openly gay Republican legislator in the nation[52]
    • Sen. Kate Brown (female; bisexual) (D) – elected 1996
    • Rep. Tina Kotek (female) (D) – elected 2006; current Speaker of the House
  • Pennsylvania:
    • Rep. Mike Fleck (R) – elected 2007, came out 2012
    • Rep. Brian Sims (D) – elected (while out) 2012[5]
    • Sen. Jim Ferlo (D) – came out 2014[53]
    • Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta (D), first gay person of color to serve in either house of the Pennsylvania state legislature.[54][55]
  • Rhode Island:
    • Sen. William P. Fitzpatrick (male) (D) – elected 1992, ran as openly gay; statewide publicity after election
    • Rep. Mike Pisaturo (male) (D) – elected 1996
    • Rep. Nancy Hetherington (female) (D) – elected 1994, came out in 2001
    • Sen. Donna Nesselbush (female) (D) – elected 2010
  • South Dakota:
    • Sen. Angie Buhl (D) (bisexual) – elected 2011, came out 2012[56]
  • South Carolina:
    • Rep. Jason Elliott (R) (male) – elected 2016[57]
  • Tennessee:
  • Texas:
    • Rep. Glen Maxey (male) (D) – elected 1991
    • Rep. Mary Gonzalez (female) (D) – elected 2012; first openly pansexual elected official in the United States[59]
  • Utah:
    • Rep. Jackie Biskupski (female) (D) – elected 1998
    • Sen. Scott McCoy (male) (D) – elected 2005
  • Vermont:
    • Rep. Ron Squires (D) – elected 1990
    • Rep. Suzi Wizowaty (D) – elected 2008
    • Sen. Ed Flanagan (D) – elected 2005
    • Rep. Taylor Small (D, Progressive) – elected 2020; first openly transgender Vermont legislator
  • Virginia:
    • Del. (now Sen.) Adam Ebbin (D) – elected 2003; elected first state senator 2011
    • Del. Dawn M. Adams (female; lesbian) (D) – elected 2017
    • Del. Danica Roem (D) – elected 2017; first openly transgender person to be elected to a state legislature
  • Washington State:
    • Rep. (later Sen.) Cal Anderson (D) – appointed 1987
    • Rep. Laurie Jinkins (female) (D) – elected 2010
  • West Virginia:
    • Rep. Stephen Skinner (D) – elected 2012[5]
  • Wisconsin:
    • Rep. (later Sen.) Tim Carpenter (D) – elected to Assembly in 1984, came out in 2001, elected to Senate in 2002
    • Rep. (later U.S. rep) Mark Pocan (D) – elected 1998
    • Rep. (later U.S. sen.) Tammy Baldwin (female; lesbian) (D) – elected 1993
    • Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa (female; bisexual) (D) – elected 2010; came out 2012
  • Wyoming:
    • Rep. Cathy Connolly (D) – elected 2008

Territorial legislators[edit]

  • District of Columbia
    • Jim Graham
    • David Catania
  • Guam:
    • Sen. Benjamin Cruz (D) – elected 2008[60]


Nationwide firsts[edit]

  • First openly gay mayor of a U.S. state capital: David Cicilline, Providence, Rhode Island (2002)
  • First directly elected openly gay mayor in the U.S.: Gene Ulrich, Bunceton, Missouri (1980)
  • Largest city (in the country) with an openly lesbian mayor: Lori Lightfoot, Chicago, Illinois (2019) (Formerly held by Annise Parker, Houston, Texas (2009))
  • Largest city with an openly gay male mayor: Ed Murray, Seattle, Washington (2014)
  • First openly gay president of a city council — Cathy Woolard, Atlanta City Council President from 2002 to 2004.[16]
  • First openly transgender mayor: Stu Rasmussen, Silverton, Oregon (2008)
  • First openly LGBT members of a city council: Nancy Wechsler and Jerry DeGrieck, both elected as members of the Human Rights Party to the Ann Arbor City Council in 1972; both came out in 1973.[61][62]
  • First openly gay person (male or female) elected to public office (city council): Kathy Kozachenko, Ann Arbor, Michigan (1974)[63][64]
  • First openly gay man elected to a U.S. city council (incumbent): Jim Yeadon, Madison, Wisconsin (1977)[63][65]
  • First openly gay or lesbian elected official in California – Harvey Milk, member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors; elected 1977, assassinated in 1978 by Dan White shortly after White killed Mayor George Moscone.[66]
  • First openly gay black person elected to public office in the United States: Keith St. John, elected to Albany, New York common council in 1989.[67][68]
  • First openly gay Hispanic person elected to public office in the United States: Ricardo Gonzalez, Madison, Wisconsin (1989)
  • First openly transgender member of a city council: Joanne Conte (Arvada, Colorado) – trans woman, served on Arvada City Council from 1991 to 1995.
  • First openly bisexual member of a city council: Marlene Pray, joined Doylestown, Pennsylvania, council in 2012, resigned 2013 (also first openly bisexual office holder in Pennsylvania).[69][70]
  • First openly gay City Council Speaker: Christine Quinn (elected 2006)
  • First openly gay married couple to serve elected public office together for the same municipality (Borough Council): Thos Shipley and Joe DeIorio, Roselle Park, New Jersey, 2018.[71]

By state[edit]

  • Alaska
    • Mayor of Anchorage: Austin Quinn-Davidson, 2020
  • Arizona
    • Tempe
      • Mayor: Neil Giuliano, 1994–2004
  • California
    • Ron Galperin was the first openly gay citywide elected official in Los Angeles when he was elected City Controller in 2013. Galperin was re-elected to a second term in 2017.[72]
    • Robert F. Gentry was elected mayor of Laguna Beach, in 1982, becoming the first openly gay mayor in California and the first openly gay elected official in southern California.[73]
    • John Laird was elected mayor of Santa Cruz in 1983.[74]
    • Valerie S. Terrigno was elected Mayor of the newly incorporated City of West Hollywood in 1984, making her the first openly lesbian elected official in California and the youngest woman Mayor at age 31. The West Hollywood City Council also held a 3 person Gay and Lesbian majority, also a first in U.S. history.
    • Danny Wan was appointed member of the Oakland City Council in 1999, and elected in the post in 2002, becoming the city’s first openly gay politician.[75]
    • Ron Oden was elected mayor of Palm Springs in 2003; he became the first openly gay black man elected mayor of an American city and was the first openly gay mayor of Palm Springs.[76]
    • Mike Gin was elected mayor of Redondo Beach in 2005, becoming the first openly gay Asian-American mayor elected in the US and the first Republican gay mayor elected in California.
    • Christopher Cabaldon was elected mayor of West Sacramento in 1998 and came out in 2006, making him the first openly gay Filipino elected as mayor in the US. As of 2016, he is the longest-serving LGBT mayor.
    • Evan Low was elected mayor of Campbell in 2009, at the age 26, making him the youngest gay mayor (and the youngest Asian-American mayor) nationwide at the time. Low was reelected in 2013.[77]
    • Gary Miller was the first LGBT elected official in Sacramento County. Served on Robla School board for 19 years. Moved to Roseville, Ca. Ran and won a seat on Roseville school board in 2008, was re-elected in 2012, 2016.
    • In 2010, Joe Mosca took office as mayor of Sierra Madre, becoming the first openly gay mayor in the San Gabriel Valley.[78] By 2010, there were four openly gay mayors in Los Angeles County: Mosca, John Heilman of West Hollywood, Mitch Ward of Manhattan Beach, and Mike Gin of Redondo Beach.[78]
    • Bao Nguyen was elected mayor of Garden Grove, in 2014, at the age 34, making him the first gay mayor and first Vietnamese mayor of Garden Grove, as well as the youngest mayor in Orange County. He also became the first Vietnamese Democratic mayor in the United States.
    • Gerrie Schipske, was elected to Long Beach Community College Board of Trustees, 1992–1996, served as President, and was elected to Long Beach City Council, 2006–2014, in each case becoming the first openly lesbian elected official.[79]
  • Connecticut
    • Pedro Segarra was the first openly gay mayor of Hartford. Segarra, the former president of the city council, became mayor in 2010 after his predecessor Eddie A. Perez resigned from office.[80][81] Segarra won a full term in the 2011 election.[82]
    • Daryl Justin Finizio was the first openly gay mayor of New London (elected 2011).[83]
  • Delaware
    • The first openly gay mayor in Delaware was John Buchheit of Delaware City (elected 2011).[84]
  • Florida
    • Richard A. Heyman was elected mayor of Key West, in 1983, becoming the first openly LGBT mayor in Florida and one of the first openly LGBT mayors in the United States (Robert F. Gentry of Laguna Beach, California, and John Laird of Santa Cruz, California were both elected the same year).[85]
    • J.P. Sasser – mayor of Pahokee; came out in 2006, while in his third term in office[86]
    • Ken Keechl – first openly LGBT person to serve on the Broward County Commission (elected 2006), and to serve as vice mayor (2008) and mayor (2009) of Broward County (mayor and vice mayor are chosen by vote on commissioners)[87]
    • Craig Lowe – first openly LGBT mayor of Gainesville (and of any north Florida city); elected 2010[88]
    • Teri Johnston – first openly lesbian mayor of Key West and first openly lesbian mayor in Florida in 2018.[89]
    • Justin Flippen – first openly gay mayor of Wilton Manors in 2018.[90]
    • Dean Trantalis – first openly gay mayor of Fort Lauderdale in 2018.[91]
    • Jane Castor – first openly lesbian mayor of Tampa in 2019.[92][93]
  • Georgia
    • Cathy Woolard was elected to the Atlanta City Council in 1997, becoming the first openly LGBT elected official in the state of Georgia. She went on to become council president.[16]
    • Ben Ku was elected to the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners in 2018, becoming the first openly LGBT official to be elected to the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners.[94]
  • Hawaii
    • Tim Riley, was elected to the Waianae neighborhood board in February 2019.[95]
  • Illinois
    • Lori Lightfoot, was elected Mayor of Chicago in April 2019, making her the first openly gay mayor of Chicago and making Chicago the largest US city ever to elect an openly gay mayor.[96]
  • Indiana
    • Pete Buttigieg, first major political party candidate for President; before that mayor of South Bend – publicly announced that he was gay in 2015,[97] while in his first term in office; first openly LGBT executive official in Indiana.[98]
    • Veronica Pejril – first transgender elected official, Greencastle city council, elected 2019.[99]
  • Iowa
    • Bill Crews – mayor of Melbourne; came out while in office (reelected 1995)[100]
  • Kansas
    • Longest-serving LGBTQ elected official: Henry Schwaller, elected 1999 – city commissioner, Hays, Kansas[101]
    • Mayor: C.C. Smith (female), elected 2017 – Linn Valley, Kansas[101]
    • Kansas has 6 openly-LGBT city councillors / commissioners, including in 2 of the state's 10 biggest cities: Shawnee and Manhattan.[101]
  • Kentucky
    • Lexington
      • Mayor: Jim Gray
    • Vicco
      • Mayor: Johnny Cummings
  • Maine
    • Geo Soctomah Neptune – elected 2020; first trans, non-binary, and two-spirit person elected to public office in Maine
  • Maryland
    • Salisbury
      • Mayor: Jim Ireton
    • College Park
      • Mayor: Patrick Wojahn
  • Massachusetts
    • Attleboro
      • Mayor: Kevin Dumas (male), elected 2003
    • Cambridge
      • Kenneth Reeves (male), elected 1992
      • E. Denise Simmons (female), elected 2008
    • Holyoke
      • Mayor: Alex Morse, elected 2011
    • Revere
      • City Councillor-at-Large: Steve Morabito, elected 2013
  • Michigan
    • Ferndale
      • Mayor: Craig Covey
    • Lansing
      • City Clerk; Chris Swope
    • Saugatuck
      • Mayor: Jeff Spangler
    • Traverse City
      • Mayor: Jim Carruthers
      • City Clerk: Benjamin Marentette
    • Ypsilanti
      • Mayor: Amanda Edmonds
  • Mississippi
    • Southaven
      • Mayor: Greg Davis (came out in 2011)
  • Nebraska
    • Lincoln
      • City Council: James Michael Bowers, elected 2019
      • Lincoln Public Schools Board of Education: Barbara Baier, elected 2005
    • Omaha
      • Omaha Public Schools Board of Education: Marque Snow, elected 2013
    • Ralston
      • Ralston School Board: Jay Irwin, elected 2017 (first openly transgender elected official in Nebraska)
  • New Jersey
    • Asbury Park
      • Mayor: Edward Johnson, elected 2009
    • Chatham Borough
      • Mayor: Bruce Harris, elected 2011
    • Long Hill Township
      • Mayor: Gina Genovese, elected 2005
    • Neptune Township
      • Mayor: Randy Bishop
    • Maywood
      • Mayor: Tim Eustace
  • New Mexico
    • Santa Fe
      • Mayor: Javier Gonzales
  • New York
    • Eddie Sundquist, elected 2019, is the first openly gay mayor of Jamestown, New York.[102]
  • North Carolina
    • Carrboro
      • Mayor: Mike Nelson, elected 1995
    • Chapel Hill
      • Mayor: Mark Kleinschmidt, elected 2009
    • Raleigh
      • County Commissioner: Greg Ford
      • Raleigh city councilman: Saige Martin, elected 2019
  • Oregon
    • Portland
      • Sam Adams
    • Silverton
      • Stu Rasmussen (transgender)
  • Pennsylvania
    • Bernville, Berks County
      • Mayor: Shawn A. Raup-Konsavage, elected 2017, assumed office January 2018.
    • Doylestown
      • Mayor: Ron Strouse
    • Erie
      • Tyler Titus, a transgender man, became the first openly transgender person elected to public office in Pennsylvania when he was elected to the Erie School Board in 2017.[103]
  • Rhode Island
    • Providence
      • Mayor: David Cicilline
    • Richmond
      • Mayor: Benjamin Joseph Reddish III
    • Woonsocket
      • City Council Member: Melissa Murray, elected 2013
  • Texas
    • Houston
      • Mayor (Major City): Annise Parker, elected 2009, assumed office January, 2010
    • Kemp
      • Mayor (Any City): Matthew Ganssle, elected 2009, assumed office May, 2009[104]
    • New Hope
      • Mayor: Jess Herbst, appointed 2016, came out as transgender 2017
  • Utah
    • Willy Marshall, a member of the Libertarian Party, became the first openly gay mayor in Utah when he was elected mayor of Big Water in 2001.[105]
  • Virginia
    • Jay Fisette, elected member of Arlington County Board, Virginia, as openly gay in 1997. Served until 2017.[106]
    • Joel McDonald, member of the Virginia Beach School Board, elected 2012. First openly gay candidate to be elected in Hampton Roads.[107]
    • John David Smith, mayor of Winchester. First African-American and openly gay mayor in Winchester, Virginia.
    • Lawrence Webb, elected member of Falls Church City School Board, Virginia, First openly gay elected African American in Virginia in 2008 to Falls Church City Council. Current member of the Falls Church City School Board.
  • Washington
    • Seattle
      • Mayor: Ed Murray (male)
      • Mayor: Jenny Durkan (female)
    • Shoreline
      • Mayor: Keith McGlashan
  • Wisconsin


The first openly gay judge in the United States was Stephen M. Lachs, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the Los Angeles County Superior Court in 1979.[109] Before leaving office in 1981, Brown appointed three more gay and lesbian judges to the California courts, including the nation's first openly lesbian judge, Mary Morgan, who served on the San Francisco municipal court.[109]

In 1994, Thomas R. Chiola became the first openly gay judge in Illinois (and the first openly gay elected official in Illinois) when voters elected him to the Circuit Court of Cook County.[110][111]

Deborah A. Batts was the nation's first openly LGBT federal judge. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and confirmed by the Senate in a voice vote in 1994.[112] (Judge Vaughn Walker of the Northern District of California served from 1989 to February 2011 but did not come out until April 2011, after his retirement.)[113]

Batts was the sole openly LGBT judge on the federal bench for seventeen years, until Barack Obama appointed a series of gay and lesbian judges to the district courts: J. Paul Oetken (Southern District of New York, 2011); Alison J. Nathan (Southern District of New York, 2011); Michael W. Fitzgerald (Central District of California, 2012); Nitza I. Quiñones Alejandro (Eastern District of Pennsylvania, 2013); Pamela K. Chen (Eastern District of New York, 2013); Michael J. McShane (District of Oregon, 2013); Darrin P. Gayles (Southern District of Florida, 2014); Staci Michelle Yandle (Southern District of Illinois, 2014), and Judith Ellen Levy (Eastern District of Michigan, 2014).[113][114]

Obama also appointed the first openly LGBT judge of a federal court of appeals, Todd M. Hughes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.[113][115]

The first openly LGBT justice of a state supreme court was Rives Kistler, appointed to the Oregon Supreme Court in 2003, and retained by voters the following year.[116] The next gay or lesbian state supreme court justices were Virginia Linder (Oregon Supreme Court, 2006); Monica Márquez (Colorado Supreme Court, 2010); Barbara Lenk (Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, 2011); Sabrina McKenna (Supreme Court of Hawaii, 2011); Beth Robinson (Vermont Supreme Court, 2011).[116] In 2017, Paul Feinman became the first openly gay judge to sit on the New York Court of Appeals.

Benjamin Cruz of Guam was the first openly gay judge of a territorial supreme court; he came out in 1995 and was appointed to the Supreme Court of Guam in 1997.[117] Cruz served as associate justice from 1997 to 1999 and as chief justice from 1999 until his retirement in 2001.[118]

The first openly bisexual judge in the United States is Mike Jacobs, a state court judge in DeKalb County, Georgia, who came out publicly in 2018.[119]

  • State judge of compensation claims: Rand Hoch, Flagler, Seminole and Volusia counties, Florida – appointed 1992[120]
  • Transgender judge: Victoria Kolakowski, Superior Court of Alameda County, California – elected 2010
  • Superior Court judge Victor Carlson, 3rd Judicial District State of Alaska at Anchorage – appointed 1975 served until 1985 when he lost a retention election that was held in the shadow of his coming out.[121]

See also[edit]

  • List of LGBT politicians in the United States


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