Non-binary candidates were among those claiming wins Tuesday night as two contenders prevailed in local elections in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
In Massachusetts, Thu Nguyen won a race for a seat on the Worcester City Council, becoming the first non-binary person ever elected in the state. Thu came in fourth in a crowded race and won 10 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results, which was enough to claim one of the seats.
Thu’s victory is also significant because of the story of their family, which sought refuge in Worcester when they were an infant after their father was captured in Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war for six years. Thu now works at the Southeast Asian Coalition and addresses issues such as food insecurity, civic engagement and support for small businesses.
Annise Parker, CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, said in a statement Thu’s win “shattered a rainbow ceiling” and adds to the growing number of election wins for non-binary elected officials serving across the nation.
“Their victory proves voters look beyond gender identity and will elect leaders with the qualifications and drive to improve people’s lives,” Parker said. “Thu’s experiences – as a person of color, non-binary person and refugee – will bring a unique and critical perspective to the city council and it will lead to more inclusive legislation.”
In Pennsylvania, Xander Orenstein won a race for the Allegheny County Magisterial District Court in Pennsylvania, becoming the first non-binary person elected to a judicial position in the United States. In May, Orenstein narrowly defeated an incumbent primary challenger by 40 votes and was unopposed in the general election on Tuesday.
As a result of the wins by Thu and Orenstein, there will now be 11 openly non-binary elected officials in total throughout the United States, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
In other news for LGBTQ candidates on election night, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund:
In Michigan, Gabriela Santiago-Romero won an election for a seat on the Detroit City Council, making her the first out LGBTQ council member in the city’s history, and the first Latinx out LGBTQ woman elected in the entire state of Michigan.
In New York City, six candidates — Crystal Hudson, Kristin Richardson Jordan, Lynn Schulman, Tiffany Cabán, Chi Ossé and Erik Bottcher — won their general election campaigns for the New York City Council, increasing the number of openly LGBTQ representatives from four to six. The wins mean the council is set to have the greatest number of openly LGBTQ council members ever elected, beating the previous record of five.
In Ohio, transgender candidates Dion Manley won an election to the Gahanna Jefferson School Board, making him the first transgender person elected in all of Ohio and among just five trans men serving in elected office in the country.
In Montana, Christopher Coburn won a race for a position on the Bozeman City Commission, becoming the first Black openly LGBTQ person ever elected in the state.
In Ohio, Rebecca Maurer defeated a 16-year incumbent and won election to the Cleveland City Council, becoming the first openly LGBTQ woman elected to the council in the city’s history.