- Jenny Durkan, who was the first openly LGBTQ U.S. attorney, will become mayor of Seattle, making her the first female mayor of the city since 1926, and its first out lesbian mayor ever. She began her career teaching English and coaching girls’ basketball and spent a summer as an airline baggage handler before law school. After practicing criminal defense law for a number of years, she was nominated by President Obama (and confirmed by the Senate) as U.S Attorney for the Western District of Washington. She has two children with her partner Dana Garvey—and on her website, you can see a photo of the couple with their adorable dog.
- Award-winning poet and writer Andrea Jenkins will become the first openly transgender black woman elected to public office in the U.S. with her election to the Minneapolis City Council, Ward 8. She’s served as policy aide to two different Ward 8 city council members, and was the first Oral Historian for the Transgender Oral History Project of the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in GLBT Studies at the University of Minnesota. She’s not only a parent, but also a grandparent.
- Lisa Middleton won election to the Palm Springs City Council, making her the first out transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California. She was the first in her family to attend college, and worked for 36 years at the State Compensation Insurance Fund of California, retiring as senior vice president of internal affairs. She’s been a member of the Palm Springs Planning Commission for several years, and serves on the Board of Directors of Neighborhoods USA, Equality California, the LGBT Center of the Desert and the Desert Horticulture Society, among other achievements. She and her wife, Cheryl O’Callaghan, a retired nurse, have been together since 2000 and married in July 2013. She “is the proud and loving parent” of two grown children, both teachers.
- Journalist and reporter Danica Roem won election to the Virginia House of Delegates, District 13, making her the first transgender elected official in Virginia. She’s a lifelong resident of the district and gained understanding of its strengths and challenges as a reporter there. She also plays guitar in a heavy metal band. The Washington Post recently called her a “Policy wonk in a rainbow headscarf”—an appellation I sort of love—and she’s a stepmom to her boyfriend’s nine-year-old daughter.
- [Updated 11/9 to add:] Gerri Cannon, elected to the Somersworth (New Hampshire) School Board. She describes herself on her LinkedIn page as “a proud transgender woman,” a semi-retired carpenter, and a lay-leader in her UU Church. She also indicates her sights are set higher, and says she is a candidate for state representative, District 18, Strafford County. Beyond that, however, she writes, “I am a Parent and a Grandparent, 2 of the most important job titles that I have ever held.”
- Tyler Titus became another transgender school board member with election to the Erie School Board, the first openly transgender person elected to office in Pennsylvania. He works in public and private schools as a licensed professional counselor, serves as vice president of the board of directors for the Crime Victim Center, and on the advisory council for Greater Erie Alliance for Equality (GEAE). He is the father of two boys. (Here’s a cute photo of him with someone I assume is one of his sons.)
Does being a parent make them better prepared to serve than other candidates? Not necessarily—although parenting, I think, is one way to practice organizing, multitasking, and negotiating, all useful skills for elected office, too. And parenting can give us greater insight into issues around family, children, and schools–but it’s not the only way to gain such knowledge. For example, one other winner yesterday was Phillipe Cunningham, who will serve on the Minneapolis City Council for Ward 4, and is the first transgender man elected to a major city’s council. He’s not a parent, but was a special education teacher and youth work professional before working as senior policy aide for education, youth success, racial equity, and LGBTQ rights in Mayor Hodges’ office. He’s certainly bringing plenty of insight about children and youth to the table.
Similarly, several non-queer but LGBTQ-supportive parents have also won their races (see them among the LPAC-endorsed winners of all orientations and identities), and I look forward to having them as allies in office.
Still, this is a queer parenting blog, so I’m delighted to celebrate queer parents who are also choosing to serve their communities and country. May they help us work towards a better future for us all.