474 LGBTQ+ candidates responded
Washington, DC – Today LGBTQ+ Victory Institute and Loyola Marymount University released When We Run, the largest ever survey of LGBTQ+ candidates for public office in the U.S. The survey – which was conducted in April and May of 2023 – asked LGBTQ+ candidates about their motivations for running, the challenges they faced and how their identities affected their campaigns. The full report can be viewed at victoryinstitute.org/whenwerun.
Among the findings:
- Almost half of LGBTQ+ candidates said a desire to increase LGBTQ+ representation in elected office was a top motivation (45.8%).
- Trans women (14.3%) and gender non-conforming, genderqueer and non-binary candidates (10.3%) were the most likely to cite anti-LGBTQ legislation as a top motivation to run.
- About a third of LGBTQ+ candidates (35.9%) were discouraged to run because of their sexual orientation, while almost one in five was discouraged because of their gender identity (17.5%).
- LGBTQ+ candidates of color – and especially Asian LGBTQ+ candidates (52.4%) – said their race or ethnicity was important or very important for them in their campaigns.
- More than eight in 10 LGBTQ+ candidates (84%) thought being LGBTQ+ made them a better candidate – with nearly three in five (59.5%) believing they were more empathetic toward the struggles of others because of their identity.
- More than one in four LGBTQ+ candidates reported prejudice because of their sexual orientation as a top challenge during their campaigns (26.4%).
- About one in three of all LGBTQ+ candidates felt their local political party was not supportive at all of their candidacy (37.1%).
Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ+ Victory Institute, released the following statement about the findings:
“Whether they’re running to fight bigotry or simply to serve their community, LGBTQ+ candidates are the best antidote against the homophobia and transphobia that’s increasingly present in the public square. When We Run shows us what we know is true of LGBTQ+ candidates: they remain highly motivated to run and improve their communities despite ongoing obstacles. Voters are increasingly demanding a government more reflective of America, and LGBTQ+ leaders are stepping up to meet the challenge. While we must elect over 36,000 more out officials in the U.S. to reach parity, it’s heartening to see the high levels of motivation and an increasing number of candidates running year over year.”
The full report can be viewed at victoryinstitute.org/whenwerun.
LGBTQ+ Victory Institute
LGBTQ+ Victory Institute works to achieve and sustain global equality through leadership development, training and convening to increase the number, expand the diversity and ensure the success of out LGBTQ+ elected and appointed officials at all levels of government.