A national day to encourage LGBTQ+ leaders to run for office.

Danica Roem Wins

This can be you. Danica Roem was a transgender journalist and heavy metal band singer with no experience running for office. Not your typical candidate profile. But her state representative was one of the most anti-LGBTQ+ state legislators in the nation and had been in office for 25 years. He had to go — so she ran, and she won.

America needs more LGBTQ+ leaders like Virginia Delegate Danica Roem to step up and run for office. This Lead Out Loud Day, we ask: Why not you? 

Below, LGBTQ+ elected officials will share what inspired them to run, why it is so important and how you can do it too. And if they convince you, we’ll share first steps to get started. Our community needs you. 

Impact in Office: Doing the Work That Matters

From stopping anti-trans bills to organizing a city’s pandemic response, out voices can have a huge impact in public office. Hear from LGBTQ+ leaders – and their constituents – and how working with an LGBTQ+ elected official on their side shaped the conversation and ensured LGBTQ+ lives were prioritized. Take a look…

State Senator Mike Simmons and Ida Nelson talk about banning hair discrimination in Illinois 

State Representative Park Cannon & Miss Lawrence on creating access to free PrEP in Georgia

Kansas state Representative Stephanie Byers & Tori Gleason on defeating anti-trans bills in Kansas and the importance of trans representation

Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Dr. Sabrina Sanders on Long Beach’s COVID-19 response plan and the importance of intersectional policy plans

Lead Out Loud: Letters to LGBTQ+ Elected Officials

Being an out LGBTQ+ elected official can be an intense job. They’re the first line of defense against hateful bills, consistently serving as one of the few (or the only) LGBTQ+ voice in the room. This year, we wanted to show them our appreciation and hear what advice they’d give to a future candidate. Watch as they read letters to future candidates and notes sent to them by the LGBTQ+ Victory Institute family.


At-Large City Council Member LaWana Mayfield was the first person elected citywide in Charlotte when she won in 2022.


State Rep. Leigh Finke became the first transgender person elected to state office in Minnesota in 2022.


State Rep. Kameron Nelson is the first out gay man ever elected to the South Dakota legislature.


Connecticut State Treasurer Erik Russell became the first Black LGBTQ+ executive official elected statewide in U.S. history.

About Lead Out Loud Day

Kathy KozachenkoOn April 2, 1974, Kathy Kozachenko won a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council, becoming the first out LGBTQ+ person elected to public office in the United States. Each April 2, LGBTQ+ Victory Institute celebrates Lead Out Loud Day to honor her legacy and encourage more LGBTQ+ people to run for office in her footsteps. 

At just 21 years old, Kathy wanted to run as her authentic self and stand up for social justice issues. As she said in her victory speech, “Many people’s attitudes about gayness are still far from healthy, but my campaign forced some people at least to re-examine their prejudices and stereotypes.”  

America needs more LGBTQ+ leaders like Kathy Kozachenko to step up and run for office. This Lead Out Loud Day, we ask: Why not you?  

If the videos we’ve shared today convince you to learn more running, we’ll share first steps to get started. Our community needs you. 


I’m Ready to Run

Our community desperately needs more LGBTQ+ people like you to run for office and fight for equality in the halls of power. As we said earlier: if not you, who?

There are many resources to help people running for office, including Victory Institute and our out LGBTQ+ elected leaders. Below are some action items you can take right now:

Ready to run? Sign up to receive more information about the process – including your first virtual training! 

Learn about and register for our three-day intensive Candidate & Campaign Trainings!

Outreach to LGBTQ+ elected officials in your state is a great way to get advice and start a run, so see who is serving near you.

Spread the Word

Help encourage LGBTQ+ people to run on social media!

America needs more LGBTQ+ people to run for office, but that won’t happen without your help. Take two minutes to help spread the word about Lead Out Loud Day and encourage LGBTQ+ people you know to run!

YOU Should Run

It Needs to Be You

Too many LGBTQ people don’t see themselves as leaders in elected office, but they are wrong. LGBTQ people are winning in conservative towns and liberal states. More LGBTQ people of color, bisexual, transgender and non-binary people are winning than ever before. America is ready to elect LGBTQ leaders, but we need more to step up and run.

The point is: if not you, who?

Palm Springs City Councilmember
Lisa Middleton

You Can Change Lives

Having an LGBTQ voice in the room is invaluable and our out elected officials prove it everyday. LGBTQ elected officials are the driving force behind pro-equality legislation in so many chambers and are the ones who lead the fight to defeat anti-LGBTQ bills. Yet the impact goes well beyond LGBTQ equality issues alone. LGBTQ elected officials are leading on police reform, climate change, healthcare policy and so much more.

You can help transform your school district, your city, your state and your country.

Maine House Speaker Ryan Fecteau

You Are Qualified

You don’t need a law degree or political experience to run for office — and neither of those make you more qualified. LGBTQ elected officials come from diverse work backgrounds and that experience makes them better leaders. LGBTQ elected officials have been teachers, activists, grocery store workers and event planners.

If you are passionate about making lives better for people in your community, you are qualified.

Georgia Sen. Kim Jackson

You Can Do It

We won’t lie: Running as an out LGBTQ candidate is not always easy. We face the rigors all candidates face: choosing a seat to run for, learning how to fundraise and knocking on lots (and we mean lots) of doors. But we also face challenges many candidates do not, unfortunately including anti-LGBTQ campaign tactics. Yet nothing you will face is something another LGBTQ candidate hasn’t faced, and we as a community and training organization will help you on the way.

Others have done it and so can you!

Florida Sen. Shevrin Jones