This is a list of lesbian, gay, and bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans who have served in the United States Congress.

As of March 2021, 26 members of the LGBT community are known to have held office in the U.S. Congress. In the House, 25 LGBT people held office; in the Senate, 3 held office. Two people, Tammy Baldwin and Kyrsten Sinema, served in the House and were later elected into the Senate. The earliest known LGBT congressperson was Ed Koch, who began his term in the House in 1969. The earliest known LGBT senator is Harris Wofford, who began his term in 1991. Both men were not out during their tenure: Koch's sexuality was confirmed after his death and Wofford announced his plans to marry a man over 20 years after serving in the Senate. Sabrina Sojourner served as the Shadow Representative for the District of Columbia for the 1997 to 1999 term, though she did not have floor privileges.[1][2]

There are currently 11 openly LGBT members of the 117th Congress, all of whom are Democrats. Two are senators and the rest are House representatives. This constitutes the most LGBT congresspeople serving at the same time in U.S. history.[3][4]

Senate

All senators listed served as open members of the LGBT community unless otherwise specified:

dagger Came out after serving

double-dagger Posthumously identified as LGBT

Senator Party State Term Notes
Start End
Harriswofford.jpg
Harris Wofforddagger Democratic Pennsylvania May 8, 1991 January 3, 1995 Lost reelection in 1994.
Announced his marriage to a man in 2016.[5][6]
Tammy Baldwin, official portrait, 113th Congress.jpg
Tammy Baldwin Democratic Wisconsin January 3, 2013 Incumbent As an openly lesbian woman, Baldwin is the first openly LGBT senator to have come out before being elected.[3][7][8]
Kyrsten Sinema (cropped).jpg
Kyrsten Sinema Democratic Arizona January 3, 2019 Incumbent First openly bisexual senator.[3][9]

House of Representatives

All representatives listed served as open members of the LGBT community unless otherwise specified:

dagger Came out after serving

double-dagger Posthumously identified as LGBT

Representative Party State Term Notes
Start End
Ed Koch 95th congress.jpg
Ed Kochdouble-dagger Democratic New York January 3, 1969 December 31, 1977 Koch denied he was gay throughout his life, but his sexuality was confirmed in a 2022 article in The New York Times.[10]
Resigned after being elected mayor of New York City.
Stewart McKinney.jpg
Stewart McKinneydouble-dagger Republican Connecticut January 3, 1971 May 7, 1987 After dying in office of AIDS, McKinney was outed as bisexual in his obituary.[6][11][12][13][14][15]
Died in office.
Rep. Barbara Jordan - Restoration.jpg
Barbara Jordandouble-dagger Democratic Texas January 3, 1973 January 3, 1979 Jordan's domestic partnership with Nancy Earl was revealed in her obituary in 1996, making her the first known LGBT woman in Congress (per the U.S. National Archives).[16][17]
Retired.
S001040.jpg
Gerry Studds Democratic Massachusetts January 3, 1973 January 3, 1997 Came out as gay as a result of his implication in the 1983 congressional page sex scandal.[18] He became the first openly LGBT person to win election to Congress with his reelection in 1984.[6]
Retired.
Robert Bauman US Congress photo portrait.jpg
Robert Bauman Republican Maryland August 21, 1973 January 3, 1981 In October 1980, was outed as gay while in office, making him the first openly LGBT member of Congress.[19][20][6]
Lost reelection.
Jon Hinson.jpg
Jon Hinson Republican Mississippi January 3, 1979 April 13, 1981 Outed as gay after being arrested on a charge of oral sodomy on February 4, 1981.[21][6]
Resigned
Barneyfrank.jpg
Barney Frank Democratic Massachusetts January 3, 1981 January 3, 2013 Came out as gay in 1987 and in 2012 became the first member of Congress in a same-sex marriage.[6][22][23]
Retired.
SteveGunderson.jpg
Steve Gunderson Republican Wisconsin January 3, 1981 January 3, 1997 Outed as gay on the floor of the House in 1994, Gunderson was the first openly gay Republican to be reelected after being outed.[24][25][6]
Retired.
Jim Kolbe.jpg
Jim Kolbe Republican Arizona January 3, 1985 January 3, 2007 In 1996, Kolbe came out as gay while in office after voting for the Defense of Marriage Act. He was the first openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention.[26][27][28][6]
Retired.
Michael Huffington Dod.jpg
Michael Huffington Republican California January 3, 1993 January 3, 1995 In 1998, came out as bisexual.[6][29]
Retired to run unsuccessfully for U.S. Senator from California.
Mark Foley, official 109th Congress photo.jpg
Mark Foley Republican Florida January 3, 1995 September 29, 2006 Came out as gay after being implicated in a 2006 congressional page scandal.[30]
Resigned.
Tammy Baldwin, official photo portrait, color.jpg
Tammy Baldwin Democratic Wisconsin January 3, 1999 January 3, 2013 The first openly LGBT non-incumbent elected to Congress.[7][6]
Retired to run successfully for U.S. Senator from Wisconsin.
Mike Michaud Official.jpg
Mike Michaud Democratic Maine January 3, 2003 January 3, 2015 Came out as gay in 2013.[31][32][6]
Retired to run unsuccessfully for Governor of Maine.
Jared Polis Official 2012.jpg
Jared Polis Democratic Colorado January 3, 2009 January 3, 2019 In 2011, Polis became the first same-sex parent in Congress.[6][33][8][34]
Retired to run successfully for Governor of Colorado, becoming the first openly gay elected governor of a U.S. state.
Aaron Schock Official.jpg
Aaron Schockdagger Republican Illinois January 3, 2009 March 31, 2015 Came out as gay in 2020.[35]
Resigned.
David Cicilline, Official Portrait, 112th Congress 2.jpg
David Cicilline Democratic Rhode Island January 3, 2011 Incumbent Openly gay.[3][6][8]
Congressman Maloney official.jpg
Sean Patrick Maloney Democratic New York January 3, 2013 Incumbent Openly gay.[3][6][8]
Mark Pocan official photo (cropped).jpg
Mark Pocan Democratic Wisconsin January 3, 2013 Incumbent As an openly gay man, Pocan is the first LGBT member of Congress to replace another LGBT member of Congress (Tammy Baldwin) and the first non-incumbent in a same-sex marriage elected to Congress.[3][6][8][36]
Rep Kyrsten Sinema, Official Portrait (cropped).jpg
Kyrsten Sinema Democratic Arizona January 3, 2013 January 3, 2019 Sinema is the first openly bisexual member of Congress.[6][8][37]
Retired to run successfully for U.S. Senator from Arizona
Mark Takano 113th Congress - full.jpg
Mark Takano Democratic California January 3, 2013 Incumbent The first openly gay person of color (specifically Asian American) elected to Congress.[3][8]
Angie Craig, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Angie Craig Democratic Minnesota January 3, 2019 Incumbent As an openly lesbian woman, Craig is the first non-incumbent LGBT parent elected to Congress.[3][38]
Sharice Davids.jpg
Sharice Davids Democratic Kansas January 3, 2019 Incumbent Davids is the first openly lesbian woman of color (specifically Native American) elected to Congress.[3][39]
Katie Hill, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Katie Hill Democratic California January 3, 2019 November 1, 2019 Openly bisexual. She resigned in 2019 amid allegations of improper relationships with staffers.[40]
Resigned.
Chris Pappas, official portrait, 116th Congress.jpg
Chris Pappas Democratic New Hampshire January 3, 2019 Incumbent Openly gay.[3][41]
Mondaire Jones 117th U.S Congress.jpg
Mondaire Jones Democratic New York January 3, 2021 Incumbent Along with Ritchie Torres, the first openly gay African-American elected to Congress[3][42]
Ritchie Torres 117th U.S Congress.jpg
Ritchie Torres Democratic New York January 3, 2021 Incumbent Along with Mondaire Jones, the first openly gay African-American elected to Congress[42] and the first openly gay Latino member of Congress.[3]

See also

References

  1. ^ Hamilton, Martha. "Washingtonpost.com: Retirement". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  2. ^ Yeager, Kenneth S. (2019). Trailblazers : profiles of America's gay and lesbian elected officials. Routledge. ISBN 9781317712305. Retrieved May 10, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Flores, Andrew; Gossett, Charles; Magni, Gabriele; Reynolds, Andrew (November 30, 2020). "11 openly LGBTQ lawmakers will take their seats in the next Congress. That's a record in both numbers and diversity". Washington Post. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  4. ^ LeBlanc, Paul. "Rep. Katie Hill announces resignation amid allegations of improper relationships with staffers". CNN. Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  5. ^ Wofford, Harris (April 23, 2016). "Finding love again, this time with a man". New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2016. Too often, our society seeks to label people by pinning them on the wall – straight, gay or in between. I don't categorize myself based on the gender of those I love. I had a half-century of marriage with a wonderful woman, and now am lucky for a second time to have found happiness.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Illsley, C. L. (May 31, 2019). "Openly LGBT Members Of Congress". WorldAtlas. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  7. ^ a b O'Brien, Brendan (October 19, 2012). "Wisconsin's Baldwin becomes first openly gay senator". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Olugbemiga, Ayobami (February 4, 2014). "Capitol Hill: The 7 Openly Gay and Lesbian Members of Congress". DC Inno. Business Journals. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  9. ^ Vagianos, Alanna (January 3, 2019). "Kyrsten Sinema Makes History As First Openly Bisexual Person Sworn In To Senate". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  10. ^ Flegenheimer, Matt; Goldensohn, Rosa (May 7, 2022). "The Secrets Ed Koch Carried". The New York Times. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  11. ^ "AIDS Makes Another Chilling Advance, Claiming the Life of a Congressman". People. May 25, 1987. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  12. ^ Houston, Paul (May 8, 1987). "Connecticut's McKinney, GOP Liberal, Dies of AIDS". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  13. ^ Kimmey, Samantha (December 20, 2012). "Rep. Barney Frank Comments on Scalia, Prostitution, Marijuana and More". The Raw Story. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  14. ^ "Congressman Killed by AIDS Led Secret Life, Gay Man Claims". Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. August 23, 1989. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  15. ^ May, Clifford D. (May 9, 1987). "Friends Say McKinney Had Homosexual Sex". New York Times. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  16. ^ Bartgis, Rachel (June 10, 2021). Kratz, Jessie (ed.). "LGBTQ+ History Month: Barbara Jordan". Pieces of History. U.S. National Archives. Archived from the original on July 1, 2021.
  17. ^ Henderson, Kali. "Barbara Jordan | LGBT African Americans (2014) by Kali Henderson and Dionn McDonald". OutHistory.org. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
  18. ^ "Housecleaning". Time. July 25, 1983. Archived from the original on November 3, 2006.
  19. ^ Bauman, Robert (August 1986). The Gentleman from Maryland: The Conscience of a Gay Conservative. Arbor House. pp. 1–3. ISBN 978-0877956860.
  20. ^ Kelly, Jacques (April 5, 2008). "Whatever happened to . . . Robert E. Bauman?". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  21. ^ "Jon Hinson, 53, Congressman and Then Gay-Rights Advocate". New York Times. p. 19. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  22. ^ O'Keefe, Ed (December 3, 2012). "When Barney Frank announced he was 'coming out of the room' (er... the closet)". Washington Post.
  23. ^ "DC's Most Influential Gay Couple Calls It Quits". Tuscaloosa News. July 3, 1998. Retrieved January 19, 2010.
  24. ^ Bergling, Tim (May 11, 2004). "Closeted in the capital: they're powerful, Republican, and gay. Will the marriage battle finally get them to come out to their bosses?". The Advocate. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
  25. ^ Bierbauer, Charles (November 28, 1997). "Gunderson Leaves 'Increasingly Polarized' House". CNN. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  26. ^ Dunlap, David W. (August 3, 1996). "A Republican Congressman Discloses He Is a Homosexual". New York Times. Retrieved November 25, 2007.
  27. ^ Campbell, Julia (August 1, 2000). "Openly Gay Congressman Addresses Convention". ABC News.
  28. ^ Eaklor, Vicki Lynn (2008). Queer America: a GLBT history of the 20th century. ABC-CLIO. p. 213. ISBN 978-0-313-33749-9.
  29. ^ King, Ryan James (May 22, 2006). "Michael Huffington: The long-awaited Advocate interview". The Advocate. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  30. ^ "Foley lawyer makes statement". CNN. October 2, 2006. Retrieved October 4, 2006.
  31. ^ Cousins, Christopher (November 5, 2013). "Michaud: 'I haven't changed. I'm Mike.'". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  32. ^ Michaud, Mike (November 4, 2013). "Rep. Michaud's op-ed column: Yes, I'm gay. Now let's get our state back on track". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  33. ^ Parkinson, John (September 30, 2011). "House Democrat Jared Polis Becomes First Openly Gay Parent in Congress". ABC News. Retrieved September 30, 2011.
  34. ^ Anderson, James; Slevin, Colleen (January 9, 2019). "Colorado's Jared Polis Makes History as Gay Governor". Associated Press. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  35. ^ Coleman, Justin (March 5, 2020). "Former GOP Rep. Aaron Schock comes out as gay". The Hill. Retrieved March 5, 2020.
  36. ^ Craver, Jack (May 11, 2013). "Mark Pocan's husband finally recognized as congressional 'spouse'". Capital Times. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  37. ^ Fitzsimons, Tom (November 3, 2018). "Kyrsten Sinema makes history as first bisexual member of U.S. Senate". NBC News. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  38. ^ "Minnesota Democrat Angie Craig, a former health care executive, is the first lesbian mother to be elected to Congress". WJCT. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  39. ^ Sopelsa, Brooke; Fitzsimons, Tim (November 7, 2018). "Sharice Davids, a lesbian Native American, makes political history in Kansas". NBC News. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  40. ^ North, Anna (October 28, 2019). "Revenge porn, biphobia, and alleged relationships with staffers: The complicated story around Rep. Katie Hill, explained". Vox. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  41. ^ Verhovek, John (November 3, 2018). "New Hampshire could elect its first openly gay congressman". ABC News. Retrieved January 19, 2021.
  42. ^ a b Avery, Dan (November 6, 2020). "Mondaire Jones joins Ritchie Torres as first gay Black men elected to Congress". NBC News. Retrieved January 19, 2021.