Of the 12 current or soon-to-be members of the California Legislature, eight were already part of its LGBTQ Caucus, including the leader of the Senate and three other senators whose terms run until 2024.
Four current Assembly members won reelection Nov. 8, with two new Assembly members and two new senators joining them, increasing the caucus’s ranks by 50%. The AP has not yet called one remaining race that could add an additional LGBT lawmaker.
The lawmakers will be sworn in for their new terms Dec. 5; between both chambers there are 120 total legislators.
The U.S. census has found that 9.1% of Californians identified as LGBT—compared with 7.9% for the nation overall—so the Legislature will have roughly reached parity in sexual orientation and gender identity.
It comes as Colorado Gov. Jared Polis—the first openly gay man elected as a state’s governor when he won in 2018—was re-elected to a second term this year. Meanwhile, Massachusetts and Oregon elected the nation’s first known lesbian governors.
Alaska and South Dakota also elected their first out LGBT legislators, and Montana and Minnesota elected their first transgender legislators, according to the Human Rights Campaign, a powerful LGBT activist group.
Though the newly elected LGBT officials are overwhelmingly Democrats, at least one gay Republican—George Santos, a supporter of former President Donald Trump—won a U.S. House seat in New York by defeating another gay man, a Democrat.
At least 519 out LGBT candidates won elected office this year, in positions ranging from school board up to Congress and governor, said Albert Fujii, press secretary for the LGBT Victory Fund.
That’s a record, well up from 2020, when 336 LGBT candidates won, according to the group, which along with Equality California calculated that California is the first state to pass the 10% threshold.
New Hampshire and Vermont have each had more LGBT legislators, according to the institute, but their legislatures are bigger than California’s and so have not reached the 10% threshold.
The 2022 elections are a landscape of firsts for LGBTQ people, including Corey Jackson, the California Legislature’s first gay black man.
“I think this is an opportunity just to say that No. 1, we are here, we do have something to contribute and we can lead and represent with the best of them,” said Jackson, a school board member from Riverside County.
From a political standpoint, however, the success nationwide in electing LGBT lawmakers, rather than being seen as a sign of progress, is being treated by the Left as an opportunity to push even more divisive identity politics.
The Human Rights Campaign tracked what it identified as anti-LGTB bills introduced in 23 states this year and said they became law in 13: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Louisiana.
The California Democrats say their success only underscores the hard work that remains in countering measures such as Florida’s anti-grooming law and other backlash against LGBT culture—and the political Left—for their efforts to normalize the indoctrination and sexualization of underage children.
“When it comes to LGBTQ people, we’re on two tracks,” far-left California state Sen. Scott Wiener said Monday.
“One track is that societally we’re winning,” he said. “People by and large are totally fine with LGBTQ people, they support us, they are accepting and willing to vote for LGBTQ candidates.”
Yet, he said, “despite the fact that we are winning the battle in society at large, you have a very vocal, dangerous minority of extremists who are consistently attacking and demonizing our community.”
The rhetoric—which intentionally distorts the debate over child predation in schools and elsewhere—was amplified this week as leftist lawmakers tried to exploit the deaths of five people at an LGBT nightclub in Colorado Springs to score cheap and spurious political points.
Although the killer’s motives have yet to be made clear, Buttigieg and others immediately claimed right-wing speech—which some leftists now refer to as “stochastic terrorism”—was to blame.
Republicans continue to run on and spread anti-LGBTQ ideology and hatred while refusing to lift a finger on gun violence. This is preventable, but only if they start seeing LGBTQ people as equals, and themselves as leaders.
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) November 20, 2022
It is left-wing activists, though, who seem to be most motivated by the manufactured threat.
In New Hampshire, Democrat James Roesener—the first trans man elected to any U.S. state legislature—said he was compelled to run after a state bill that would have required schools to notify parents of developments in their children’s gender identity and expression failed only narrowly.
Leigh Finke, who was elected in Minnesota, also was driven by what she claimed was growing anti-transgender rhetoric.
Finke hopes to ban pro-Christian conversion therapy in Minnesota and, like California, make the state a so-called sanctuary for children seeking to transition to the opposite gender.
“I just thought, ‘This can’t stand.’ We have to have trans people in these rooms. If we are going to lose our rights, at least they have to look us in the eye when they do it,” she said.
In defending their positions, Conservatives point to the growing audacity of transgender individuals to express their sexual deviancies, or “kinks” in public spaces where sexualization is normally unwelcome and seen as lewd or inappropriate.
Transgenderism also has drawn backlash on a number of other fronts, including the unfair advantages transgender athletes have in female competition, and the dangers in the medical industry’s push to promote lucrative sex-change operations.
But while red states scramble to pass laws that would prevent the cultural rot from infiltrating their communities, blue states are aggressively working to spread it like a sexually-transmitted disease.
“[A]s California’s Legislative LGBTQ Caucus has grown, the state has led the nation in passing groundbreaking legislation protecting LGBTQ+ civil rights,” said Equality California spokesperson Samuel Garrett–Pate.
Wiener carried California’s sanctuary bill for transgender youths, which has been copied by Democratic lawmakers in other states.
He and a fellow Assembly member teamed up in 2019 to expand access to HIV prevention medication. Other laws pushed by LGBT legislators over the years gave foster children rights to gender-affirming care and allowed nonbinary gender markers on state identification.
It’s too soon to have a solid plan for new legislation, California caucus members said, but Wiener noted realms to consider include employment resources for transgender people; homelessness and crime among at-risk LGTB youth; and sexual health services.
Jackson said he found hope in the election returns not only in California, but also nationwide.
“We have U.S. senators now, we have governors now, we actually have trans legislators now in this country,” Jackson said. “So in the midst of stories of hatred and stories of demonization, you still see rainbows of hope throughout our nation.”
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press