Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Next Congress To Have 7 Out LGBT Members!

The 113th Congress of the United States will have a record seven people who are either lesbian, gay or bisexual. In the U.S. House there will be four newly elected Members who are LGB: Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18), Kyrsten Sinema )AZ-09), Mark Pocan (WI-05) and Mark Takano CA-41). In addition, there are 2 LGB incumbents who will be returning to the U.S. House: Jared Polis (CO-02) and David Cicilline (RI-01).

And in a dramatic first, lesbian Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (WI-05) gave up her congressional seat and ran (against former governor and Bush cabinet member Tommy Thompson) for the open U.S. Senate seat to represent Wisconsin. She not only became the first openly LGB person to be elected to the U.S. Senate but the 5th Congressional District of Wisconsin became the first congressional district in the United States to be represented by two different openly gay U.S. representatives (Baldwin and Pocan).

Two other important historic firsts will be achieved on January 3rd, 2013 when the new Congress is sworn in. Takano will be the first-ever openly LGBT person of color congressmember and Sinema will be the first-ever openly bisexual member of Congress, one of the youngest, at age 36, and one of the few who claims to be religiously unaffiliated.

The 6 openly LGB members of the U.S. House make up 1.4% of the 435-member body, which is still an under-representation of the 3.4% of Americans who are willing to tell a pollster that they are LGB or the 9% of Americans who are estimated to be LGB.

Baldwin will be 1 of 100 United States Senators, but in a body which allows a single member great latitude to wield disproportional power over federal legislation and public policy.

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