By Dana Rudolph, Mombian
The number of LGBTQ candidates running for elected office this year is higher than ever, and it’s no surprise that many of them are parents. Let’s meet them and their families![Updated, 6:55 p.m., 8/18/2018, with a few more names.] Below is a list of more than two dozen LGBTQ parents currently seeking office across the country, from school boards and city councils to governorships and congressional seats. Let me stress that I didn’t compile this because I think parents necessarily make better candidates or elected officials. I do think that being a parent can give a person useful perspectives on certain issues related to children, and I feel it’s important that some of our elected officials be parents, but it should never be a requirement. There are also plenty of non-parents running for office who have backgrounds as teachers or youth workers who bring similar perspectives. With regard to female candidates in particular, I never want to give the impression that being a mother somehow makes being a candidate more palatable, as in, “If she has to do something nontraditional for a woman, at least she’s also doing the main thing that women are supposed to do—raise a child.” Nope, that doesn’t cut it. No one should feel pressured to become a parent just to satisfy society’s expectations.
At the same time, I think these candidates offer us useful examples of how a person can balance both family and service. They may even encourage other LGBTQ parents to seek office. High-profile LGBTQ parents may also help more people to see LGBTQ parents as part of the fabric of our nation. Additionally, several of them have been motivated into public service after fighting for their families, and I simply find their stories compelling and worthy of sharing.
These are not endorsements; I don’t know any of the candidates or their local issues well enough (beyond those in my home state) – and even LGBTQ parent candidates may have their flaws. I encourage you all to visit the websites and follow the campaigns of the candidates in your locales. Additionally, check out the Victory Fund and LPAC for information on a wider range of LGBTQ candidates (and in the case of LPAC, also allies), both parents and not. (Side note: As happens, both organizations are run by queer parents: former Houston Mayor Annise Parker and former business executive Stephanie Sandberg, respectively.)
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