Rainbow Rundown: Queer candidates win big, upcoming local events

Today is Friday. You wouldn’t be blamed for not knowing it or, at least, not feeling it. For many of us, it’s Election Day Part 4.

Ballots across the country are still being counted as local and state election official scramble to count an overwhelming deluge of mail-in absentee ballots, a result, of course, of the ongoing COVID pandemic.

As of this article’s publication, the presidential race was still hanging in the balance. But there were tons of other important races and victories across the country, including for the LGBTQ community.

Read on in this week’s edition of the Rainbow Rundown for your weekly news recap and some awesome upcoming local events!

In this issue of the Rainbow Rundown:

  • Queer candidates create ‘rainbow wave’ in elections 2020
  • SCOTUS hears LGBTQ foster parent case
  • News from around the country and world
  • Local and regional news spotlight
  • Upcoming events

Queer candidates create a ‘rainbow wave’ in Election 2020

A live election result map from the Victory Fund, screen capture as of Nov. 6, 2020, 9:52 a.m. Click here to see a live version.

More openly LGBTQ people ran for elected office in 2020 than any other election before. According to the Victory Fund, it endorsed 310 candidates across the country, and many have won their races!

As of Tuesday, 160 of Victory Fund’s endorsed candidates had won their races, with 95 still to be decided. As of Friday morning, according to a live election results tracker on the Victory Fund’s website, the winning races had risen to 189 with 50 left to be decided.

That means historic advances for LGBTQ representation across the country. Near the top of ballots, the U.S. House will now have nine openly LGBTQ candidates, including two of the Congress’ first Black LGBTQ representatives.

State legislative candidates were also wildly successful, including the election 27-year-old Mauree Turner, elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Turner, who is Muslim, becomes the nation’s first nonbinary state lawmaker.

Well-known trans advocate Sarah McBride, who formerly worked for the Human Rights Campaign, also made history with her election to the Delaware Senate. McBride becomes the highest-ranking openly trans elected official in the nation. Trans candidates were successful across the nation, including the election of Stephanie Byers to the Kansas State House. Byers becomes the first trans indigenous person elected to a state legislature.

Queer state legislative victories were seen across the nation, including red states like neighboring Tennessee, which elected its first two openly LGBTQ state lawmakers. Here in North Carolina, openly queer state House members like New Hanover’s Deb Butler, Guilford’s Cecil Brockman, Durham’s Vernetta Alston and Marcia Morey, and Wake’s Allison Dahle, and  were also re-elected.

According to The Associated Press and Victory Fund, that leaves only Alaska, Louisiana, and Missisippi as the only states who have never elected an openly LGBTQ person to their state legislatures.

In Puerto Rico, four out candidates won their races, including a candidate for the Puerto Rico Senate, a candidate in the territory’s House of Representatives, and two openly gay mayors.

Nevada was the only state in the nation this year holding an LGBTQ-related referendum vote. The referendum vote turned the state’s former anti-LGBTQ marriage constitutional amendment into a state constitutional guarantee protecting marriage rights.

In some fun news, it seems a gay bar in Houston has become the very first queer bar in the country to become a polling site.

Be sure to see our earlier post this week spotlighting some queer election good news, as well as Autostraddle’s in-depth recap of queer election victories across the nation.

New conservative Supreme Court hears LGBTQ foster parent case

United States Supreme Court Building. Photo by Sunira Moses (Wikipedia).

While the nation’s attention largely turned to election results on Wednesday, some LGBTQ advocates were closely following oral arguments in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court, which now sports one additional conservative-leaning associate justice, with the recent addition of Amy Coney Barrett.

The case is being described as a test for religious rights and religious liberty by its proponents, Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services. The agency, affiliated with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, says its religious liberty is being violated by a City of Philadelphia rule that requires all foster care agencies to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Catholic Social Services believes it has a right to refuse to work with same-sex couples.

Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson reported Wednesday that the newly beefed-up conservative majority on the Supreme Court “appears poised” to rule in favor of Catholic Social Service’s anti-LGBTQ position. You can read Johnson’s in-depth report from Wednesday’s oral arguments here.

News from across the nation and the world

Local and regional news spotlight

Upcoming Events

Cineodyssey features documentary on trailblazing chicago trans activist

November 7, 7:30pm

The local CineOdyssey film festival is hosting a pop-up drive-in theatre this weekend, featuring a new documentary profiling Mama Gloria. The documentary is an intimate portrait of Chicago trailblazing trans elder activist Gloria Allen. Born in 1945, Gloria came of age amid the legendary drag balls on Chicago’s South Side – where Black queer performers once openly entertained audiences at clubs such as Joe’s Deluxe Club, Roberts Show Club and the Cabin Inn, and for prizes at the annual Finnie’s Masquerade Ball. The film seals Allen’s place in Chicago’s history. Allen has been a mentor to trans actress Angelica Ross (Pose) and activist and reality star Precious Davis-Brady.

Click here for tickets to the pop-up drive-in. If you can’t make the local drive-in, you can also stream the film beginning Nov. 20 via the Gene Siskel Film Center and streaming on Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. via Teaneck International.

Transcend Events

Transcend Charlotte will host several upcoming virtual events:

Banking for Trans & Enby Folx: Saving for, and Navigating, Transition, Zeke Christopoulos 
Thursday 11-12-2020 from 6:00pm to 7:30 pm

2020 Debrief and Recovery Space with Reia Chapman
Thu, Nov 19, 2020 6:00 PM

Building Credit for Trans & Enby Folx: Navigating Through Transition, Zeke Christopoulos 
Tue, Dec 8, 2020 6:00 PM.

Click here to learn more and to register.


November 13-14

Building Power Across the Spectrum: NC Advocacy Conference 2020 will include plenty of breakout sessions for experienced and beginning advocates. Join us on Friday, November 13th – Saturday, November 14th, 2020 to learn how to improve lives and fight for the rights of people living with HIV and hepatitis, people who use drugs and affected communities from grassroots leaders and respected experts. During this FREE and ENTIRELY VIRTUAL event, you will also get a chance to (virtually) connect with advocates from your region and around the state. Click here to learn more and to register.


November 14, 7pm

Same date, same hot mess – just virtual! The Virtual Gaymes of Gay Bingo is hitting your screen on Saturday, November 14 and will be all about entertaining you (no bingo cards will be harmed in the making of this live stream). Gay Bingo Charlotte is one of the most unconventional fundraising events in Charlotte and Miss Rona won’t stop us. Join us for a night of laughs, outrageous costumes, wacky games and unpredictable entertainment. All funds raised from this event stay in Charlotte and go to support HIV care. Click here for more information and to get tickets.


November 20

On November 20, 2020, join together as a community-wide family as we mark this year’s Trans Day of Remembrance. Mark your calendars now for this virtual event. More details, including livestream details and support services, to be announced soon.

You can click here RSVP on Facebook to get reminders and updates about the event.

Memorial Altar drop-off: We are accepting physical items to be placed on a memorial altar during the event. You can drop off memorial items like photographs, poems, gems, stones, artwork, other small mementos or trinkets. Please no perishable items. Drop-off location is Time Out Youth Center, 3800 Monroe Rd., Charlotte, NC 28205, Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. through next Friday, Nov. 13.

COLLABORATIVE ORGANIZERS INCLUDE: Charlotte Black Pride, Charlotte LGBTQ Elders, Charlotte Pride, Charlotte Transgender Healthcare Group, Freedom Center for Social Justice, Gender Education Network, Time Out Youth, and Transcend Charlotte, Transitioning Center of the Carolinas.