LGBTQ State Legislative Candidates in an Era of Backlash

LGBTQ State Legislative Candidates in an Era of Backlash

By Donald P. Haider-Markel, University of Kansas, Patrick Gauding, University of Kansas, Andrew Flores, American University, Daniel C. Lewis, Siena College, Patrick R. Miller, University of Kansas, Barry Tadlock, Ohio University, Jami K. Taylor, University of Toledo

In 2017, transgender woman Danica Roem stunned political observers in Virginia by unseating a long-time anti-LGBTQ legislator from a conservative district in the Virginia House of Delegates. She was the first openly transgender person elected and seated to a state legislature. Delegate Roem’s election was historic in LGBTQ political representation, but it also occurred in a period when backlash against the LGBTQ community seemed to be growing (Taylor, Lewis, and Haider-Markel 2018). These two threads led us to ask: How are LGBTQ candidates achieving historic successes even as forces seem mobilized against them?

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