US Midterms: Colorado’s Jared Polis Elected Nation’s First Openly Gay Governor


Jared Polis elected Colorado governor

Colorado Democratic candidate Jared Polis has become the first openly gay man elected to governor of any US state.

The five-term congressman (pictured, left) comfortably defeated Republican Walker Stapleton and will succeed incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper, Vox reported.

Polis was open about his sexuality during the election campaign, and often referenced it in his criticism of the Trump administration. He and his partner, Marlon Reis, have two children together, Caspian and Cora.

“Tonight in Colorado we proved that we’re an inclusive state that values every contribution, regardless of someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity,” he said in his acceptance speech.

“For the LGBTQ pioneers before me who endured so much hardship and hurt to make it possible for so many of us, myself included to live and to love openly and proudly, and to the people in this room I want to say I am profoundly grateful for all the work we’ve done to overcome.”

During his election bid, Polis pushed for universal health care, free early childhood education and transitioning Colorado to a 100% renewable energy state.

Oregon Democratic Governor Kate Brown, who identifies as bisexual, is already the first openly LGBTIQ person to be elected governor of a US state.

Polis was one of several LGBTIQ candidates in the running around the country, with other notable wins including Democrat Chris Pappas, the first openly gay congressman from New Hampshire; and Sharice Davids, the first LGBTQ congressperson from Kansas and first Native American woman elected to Congress.

In Vermont, high-profile Democratic nominee Christine Hallquist had already made history as the first trans nominee for governor from a major party but did not defeat Republican governor Phil Scott.

Crucial victory for transgender rights

Meanwhile in Massachusetts, trans advocates are celebrating a majority of voters upholding a 2016 state law affirming the rights of transgender people to use bathrooms, locker rooms or other similar facilities corresponding with the gender with which they identify.

The Human Rights Campaign, which campaigned heavily to keep the law, said voters had “rejected the scare tactics and sided with dignity and equality.”

“At a critical moment in the fight for equality, Massachusetts voters sent a powerful message that transgender people are loved and welcomed in the Bay State,” HRC President Chad Griffin said.

“From North Carolina and Virginia to Alaska and Massachusetts, we have demonstrated that when we stand together and fight back against attacks on our progress, we win.

“The LGBTQ community is indebted to the courage of so many transgender people – particularly young people – who opened hearts, changed minds and laid the foundation for this victory.”

The Trump administration has faced intense backlash after plans were revealed to narrow the legal definition of gender as male or female, defined by biological sex and unchangeable, essentially legally erasing trans and intersex people.