In a big win for LGBTQ+ rights, Democrat Leigh Finke became the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives.
Leigh Finke is the first openly transgender person elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives (Image credits: Twitter/@leighfinke)
Democrat Leigh Finke registered a landslide victory over her Republican rival – 81 per cent of votes to Trace Johnson’s 18 per cent — for a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives.
An out-and-proud transgender woman, Finke termed her victory a “milestone” for Minnesota’s trans community at a time when anti-trans laws and violence are on the rise nationwide.
Finke, a filmmaker for the American Civil Liberties Union and a first time electoral candidate, decided to run for office earlier this year.
Sporting bubblegum-pink hair and gold-rimmed octagonal glasses, Finke told CBS News, “In the last two years, we’ve been seeing just a marked increase in the coordinated attacks against trans people and trans communities in the United States and in Minnesota. I just felt like it was absolutely essential to have someone from our community in those rooms.”
Along with her push to protect LGBTQ people, Finke’s campaign addressed issues such as reproductive rights, the climate crisis, economic equality and housing shortages in her home state.
Shortly after the election results came in, she posted a celebratory video on Twitter. She also tweeted, “Many stories will be written about Minnesota’s elections. One undeniable story is the rise of Queer Political Power.”
Finke’s win is yet another step forward for gay rights in a deeply divided US. It was also one of several historic “firsts” during the 2022 midterms. In a first, openly LGBTQ+ candidates were on the ballot in all 50 states this time.
Moreover, 11 LGBTQ+ candidates ran for office in Minnesota and all of them won their poll fights. Once sworn in, they will double the number of queer representatives in the state legislature.