Share This Year
View All Decades

First Lesbian Elected to Washington Legislature

In 2010, Laurie Jinkins became the first out lesbian elected to the Washington state legislature. Her first piece of legislation covered issues in Washington’s recognition of same-sex marriages. 

Jinkins studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for undergraduate and graduate school and later graduated from Seattle University School of Law. As an attorney, she worked for the Washington state’s Attorney General’s Office, handling child abuse cases.  Jenkins later served as an assistant secretary of health at the state’s Department of Health. 

In 2020, Jinkins became Washington state’s first woman and first out LGBTQ+ Speaker of the House, joining California’s Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Oregon’s House Speaker Tina Kotek as the only out lesbian officials in history to lead a legislative body as of that time. 

Fort Worth Councilman’s ‘It Gets Better’ Speech Goes Viral

In a speech during a meeting of Fort Worth’s City Council in Texas, Joel Burns – a newly-elected out member of the council – teared up as he recounted his personal experiences with bulling. The speech was prompted by the suicide of a Texas 13-year-old who faced bullying at school and addressed directly to LGBTQ+ teens. 

“You will get out of that high school, and you will never have to deal with those jerks again if you don’t want to,” Burns said. “You will find and you will make new friends who will understand you. And life will get so, so, so much better.”

The speech was broadcast live over local media and, within a few days, millions of people from around the world heard the councilmember’s story. Before long, Burns started receiving thousands of emails and letters from around the country, many from young people facing bullying and suicidal ideation. 

Ten years later in an interview with It Gets Better about the viral speech, Burns said he most valued “the relationships that came from kids who were hurting and in trouble, young people.”

David Cicilline Elected Rhode Island’s First Out Congressman

Victory Fund’s Chuck Wolfe with David Cicilline shortly after winning his race for U.S. Congress.
Victory Fund’s Chuck Wolfe with David Cicilline shortly after winning his race for U.S. Congress.

David Cicilline’s first serious foray into the world of politics took place at Brown University, where he co-founded a branch of the College Democrats. From this launching pad, Cicilline served as a public defender in Washington, DC, before returning home to run for the Rhode Island House of Representatives. After completing four terms in the state house, Cicilline defeated three other candidates in the Democratic primary for mayor of Providence, becoming the first out mayor of a U.S. state capital. And in 2010, LGBTQ+ Americans expanded their influence in Congress when Cicilline was elected to the House of Representatives, making LGBTQ+ history as the first out LGBTQ+ candidate elected to Congress from the state. Following his 2010 election, Cicilline joined three other out LGBTQ+ members of Congress.

LGBTQ+ Victory Fund and LGBTQ+ Victory Institute President & CEO Chuck Wolfe with Congressman David Cicilline

Victoria Kolakowski Elected First Trans Trial Judge

Victoria Kolakowski shattered new barriers for trans leaders on November 2, 2010 when she won her race to be an Alameda County Superior Court judge with 51 percent of the vote. It was the first time an out trans person had ever been elected as a trial judge in the U.S. and the first time an out trans person would serve as a judge in California.

Kolakowski was considered a priority race for LGBTQ+ Victory Fund that year, and it came at a time when few out trans people had won elected office. The victory would be a turning point, especially for trans people considering judicial positions, and would lay the groundwork for an increasing number of trans people to win elected office throughout the decade.

Kentucky’s First Gay Mayor, Jim Gray, Wins in Lexington

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray

Born and raised in the Bluegrass State, Jim Gray has always seen the best in Kentucky. At the age of 19, Gray’s passion for politics was ignited and he was elected as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1972. Later, Gray ran for one of three at-large seats on the Lexington City Council, and as the largest vote-getter of the three, served as vice-mayor of the city for three years. After publicly coming out in 2005, Gray received nothing but well-wishes and praise from his community, later stating in an interview that “Lexington is a welcoming and inclusive city.”  Living up to Gray’s statement, the city elected him mayor with 53 percent of the vote in 2010, making him the first out LGBTQ+ mayor in the state.

Nickie Antonio Victorious in Ohio House Race

Ohio had never elected an out LGBTQ+ candidate to the state legislature until Nickie Antonio ran to represent House District 23. After completing two terms on the Lakewood City Council, Antonio chose to run for the Ohio state House, naming workers’ rights and pro-equality measures as pillars of her campaign platform. 

"Truly my goal would be to bring my many skills and attributes to work as part of the team getting the work done for the people of Ohio," Antonio told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2010. "Hopefully, once the first [openly gay] thing is done, there doesn't need to be so much of a focus on that. How to best fix a hole in the budget -- that's not an issue where sexual orientation makes a difference."

Her message resonated with voters: Antonio won the Democratic primary by 609 votes, and with no opposition, cemented her place in queer history. She won re-election campaigns by large margins and participated in the David Bohnett Leaders Fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School. After eight years in the Ohio House, Antonio shattered another lavender ceiling when she won her race for the Ohio state Senate, becoming the first out person elected to that body. 

Nickie Antonio thanks LGBTQ+ Victory Fund supporters following her 2010 election to the Ohio state House: 

LGBTQ+ Victory Fund Endorsed Candidates in 2010

LGBTQ+ Victory Fund endorsed 165 candidates in 2010.


Tom Kovach (D), Norman City Council, Oklahoma

Patricia Todd (D), State House, D. 54, Alabama

Kathy Webb (D), State Representative, District 37, Arkansas

Paula Aboud (D), Arizona State Senate, Arizona

Matt Heinz (D), State Representative, Dist 29, Arizona

Jack Jackson (D), State Senate, District 2, Arizona

Kyrsten Sinema  (D), Arizona State Senate, Arizona

Tom Ammiano (D), State Assembly, Dis 13, California

Toni Atkins (D), State Assembly - Dist 76, California

Kevin Beiser  (D), San Diego Unified School Board, California

Christopher Cabaldon (D), Mayor, West Sacramento , California

Linda Colfax (D), Superior Court for the City and County of San Francisco, California

Bonnie Dumanis (D), San Diego County Dist. Attorney , California

Susan Eggman (D), Stockton City Council, California

Robert Garcia (D), Long Beach City Council, California

Rich Gordon (D), State Assembly, Dist. 21, California

Scott Gruendl (D), Chico City Council, California

Scott Hines (D), Rancho Mirage City Council, California

Victoria Kolakowski (D), Alameda County Superior Court Judge, California

Ricardo Lara (D), State Assembly - Dist 50, California

Evan Low (D), Campbell City Council, California

John Perez (D), State Assembly, California

Jill Ravitch (D), District Attorney in Sonoma County, California

Jaoquin Rivera (D), Board of Education, Alameda County, California, California

Gerrie Schipske (D), Long Beach City Council, California

Joe Shaw (D), Huntington Beach City Council, California

Rich Waterman (D), Campbell City Council, California

Mark Ferrandino (D), State House, Colorado

Lucia Guzman (D), CO State Senate , Colorado

Ron Holland (D), Mayor, Dillon, Colorado

Jared Polis (D), U.S. House , Colorado

Sue Schafer (D), State House, Dist. 24, Colorado

Pat Steadman (D), State Senate, Colorado

Beth Bye (D), State Senate, Dist. 5, Connecticut

Michael Lawlor (D), State House of Reprentatives, Dist. 99, Connecticut

Kevin Lembo (D), Lieutenant Governor, Connecticut

David Catania (I), DC City Council - At large, District of Columbia

Jim Graham (D), DC City Council, Ward 1, District of Columbia

Brian Bigelow (R), Lee County Commissioner, Florida

Lisa Porter (I), Seventeenth Circuit Court Judge, Group 47, Florida

Simone Bell (D), State House, Dist. 58, Georgia

Karla Drenner (D), State House of Reprentatives, Dist. 86, Georgia

Joan Garner (D), Fulton County Commissioner, Distrist 6, Georgia

Blake Oshiro (D), House of Representatives, District 33, Hawaii

Matt McCoy (D), State Senate, Iowa

Nicole LeFavour (D), State Senate, Dist. 19, Idaho

Jim Gray (D), Mayor, Lexington, Kentucky

Barney Frank (D), U.S. House , Massachusetts

Kate Hogan (D), State House, Dist 3, Massachusetts

Sarah Peake (D), State Representative, 4th Barnstable District, Massachusetts

Stan Rosenberg (D), State Senate, Hampshire and Franklin District, Massachusetts

Carl Sciortino (D), State House, Dist. Middlesex 34th , Massachusetts

Luke Clippinger (D), House of Delegates, Dist. 46, Maryland

Bonnie Cullison (D), House of Delegates , Maryland

Anne Kaiser (D), House of Delegates, Dist. 14, Maryland

David Lublin (D), Chevy Chase City Council, Maryland

Byron Macfarlane (D), Register of Wills, Maryland

Richard Madaleno (D), State House, District 26, Maryland

Maggie McIntosh (D), House of Delegates, Dist. 43, Maryland

Heather Mizeur (D), MD Delegate, Dist 20, Maryland

Mary Washington (D), House of Delegates, Maryland

Brian McGrain (D), Ingham County Commissioner , Michigan

Sandi Smith (D), Ann Arbor City Council, Ward 1, Michigan

Scott Dibble (D), State Senate, Dist. 60, Minnesota

Michael Colona (D), State Representative, Dist. 67, Missouri

Jolie Justus (D), State Senate, D. 10, Missouri

Jeanette Mott-Oxford (D), State House, Missouri

Tom Peters (D), University City School Board, Missouri

Bryce Bennett (D), State House, Dist 92, Montana

Diane Sands (D), Montana House of Representatives , Montana

Marcus Brandon (D), NC State House, Dist. 60, North Carolina

David Pierce  (D), NH State House, Grafton Dist. 9, New Hampshire

Shannon Bacon (D), District Court Judge, New Mexico

Linda Vanzi (D), Appellate Court Judge, New Mexico

Harry Bronson (D), State Assembly, Dist. 131, New York

Janis Castaldi (D), Ossining Villiage Trustee/Duputy Mayor, New York

Thomas Duane (D), State Senate, Dist. 29, New York

Bill Hanauer (D), Ossining Villiage Mayor, New York

Micah Kellner (D), State Assembly, Dist. 65, New York

Daniel O'Donnell (D), State Assembly, Dist. 69, New York

Matthew Titone (D), State Assembly, Dist. 61, New York

Nickie Antonio  (D), OH State House, Ohio

Al McAffrey (D), State House, D. 88, Oklahoma

Rives Kistler (D), Judge, Oregon State Supreme Court, Oregon

Tina Kotek (D), State House, Dist. 44, Oregon

David Cicilline (D), U.S. House of Representatives, Rhode Island

Frank Ferri (D), State House of Representatives, District 22, Rhode Island

Gordon Fox (D), State House, District 4, Rhode Island

Deb Ruggiero (D), State House, Dist. 74, Rhode Island

Gary Fitzsimmons (D), Dallas County Dist Court, Texas

Susan Steeg (D), Justice of the Peace, Texas

Jackie Biskupski (D), Utah House of Representatives, District 30, Utah

Arlyn Bradshaw (D), Salt Lake County Commission, Utah

Sally Baird (D), Arlington School Board, Virginia

Bill Lippert (D), State House, Dist. Chittenden 1-1, Vermont

Jason Lorber (D), State Representative, Dist. Chittenden 3-3, Vermont

Suzi Wizowaty (D), State House, Chittenden 3-5, Vermont

Laurie Jinkins (D), State House, Dist 27 , Washington

Marko Liias (D), Washington House of Representatives , Washington

Joe McDermott (D), King County Council, Dist. 8, Washington

Jim Moeller (D), State House of Representatives, District 22, Washington

Edward Murray (D), State Senate, Dist. 43, Washington

Jamie Pedersen (D), Washington House of Representatives , Washington

Donna Tucker (D), King County District Court, Washington

Tammy Baldwin (D), U.S. House , Wisconsin

Kyle Richmond (D), Dane County Commission, Wisconsin

Cathy Connolly (D), State Rep., Dist 13, Wyoming


Jay Barth (D), State Senate - Dist 34, Arkansas

Dustin Cox (D), Arizona House of Representatives  , Arizona

Jimmy Munoz (D), State Representative, Dist. 16, Arizona

Kevin Dowling (D), Alameda County Supervisor, California

Rebecca Kaplan (D), Mayor, City of Oakland, California

John Laird (D), California State Senate, Dist. 15 , California

David Larson (D), Roseville City Council, California

Michael Nava (D), San Francisco Superior Court, California

Steve Pougnet (D), State Assembly - Dist 45, California

Brad Shore (D), Long Beach City Council, California

Mitch Ward (D), State Assembly - Dist 53, California

Stephen Whitburn (D), Board of Supervisors, San Diego County, California, California

Michael Wilson (D), State Assembly, Dist. 7, California

Doug Milliken (D), Arapahoe County Treasurer, Colorado

Mark Thrun (D), State House, Colorado

Clark Ray (D), DC City Council, At-Large, District of Columbia

John Brady (D), Recorder of Deeds, Delavare

Justin Flippen (D), Florida State House, Florida

Scott Galvin (D), United States House of Representatives, Dis 17, Florida

Jim Jackson (D), Pinellas County School Board, Dist. 7, Florida

Tony Japour (R), State House, Florida

Ken Keechl (D), Broward County Commission, Florida

Stanley Solomons (D), Gulfport City Council, Florida

Joe Bertram (D), HI State of Representatives, Hawaii

Todd Connor (D), Metro Water Reclamation Board, Illinois

Jim Madigan (D), State Senate - Dist 7, Illinois

Ed Mullen (D), State Rep - District  , Illinois

Linda Pauel (D), Circuit Court Judge - 1st Judical District, Illinois

David Schroeder (D), State Rep - District 5, Illinois

Henry Fernandez (D), School Board, Indiana

Mike Slaton (D), State House, Kentucky

Thomas Robichaux (D), State House, Louisiana

Karen Payne (D), State House, District 6 Suffolk, Massachusetts

E. Denise Simmons (D), Massachusetts State Senate, Massachusetts

Richard Tisei (D), Lieutenant Governor, Massachusetts

Dana Beyer (D), State House- Dist 18, Maryland

Jill Barkley (D), Maine House of Representatives , Maine

David Coulter (D), State Senate, Michigan

Ken Rosen (R), State House, District 26, Michigan

Greg Lemke (D), Minnesota State House of Representatives , Minnesota

Terry Crow  (D), Mayor, University City, Missouri

Aaron Kampfe (D), State Senate, Montana

Julia Boseman (D), District Court Judge, North Carolina

Ed Butler (D), NH State House, Carrol County Dist, 1 , New Hampshire

Michael Perfit  (D), NH State House, Rockingham Dist. 13, New Hampshire

Patrick Davis (D), Bernalillo County Sheriff, New Mexico

Dan Hill (R), State Assembly, Dist. 29, Nevada

Kristine Kuzemka (D), Justice of the Peace, Las Vegas Township, Nevada

David Parks (D), Clark County Commission, Nevada

Phil LaTessa (D), NY State Assembly, Dist 119, New York

Brian McGrath (D), NY State Assembly, Dist 122, New York

Terry Brown (D), County Auditor in Franklin County, Ohio

Tom Kovach (D), State House, Oklahoma

Andrew Williams (D), State House, Oklahoma

Claudia Kyle (D), House of Representatives, District 19, Oregon

Rosa Gonzalez (D), District Court Judge, San Antonio, Dist3 436, Texas

Steve Howard (D), Lieutenant Governor, Vermont


David Cicilline (D), Mayor, Providence, Rhode Island

Keep in Touch

Stay up-to-date on the latest in LGBTQ+ representation and
LGBTQ+ Victory Institute's work increase the number of LGBTQ+ public leaders.
join our movement