The #MeToo movement against sexual harassment and assault has had a massive impact on American society the past year, and it has shaped up to be a salient issue this mid-term election. One response to the movement is the mobilization of LGBTQ individuals to run for political office to fight sexual harassment and assault.
Allison Dahle defeated Democratic incumbent Duane Hall, first elected to the North California House of Representatives for District 11 in 2012, by an overwhelming 42 points in the Democratic primary earlier in May this year. The race became competitive on February 28th when North Carolina Policy Watch reported that Rep. Hall was facing allegations of sexual misconduct by five women.
The allegations against him include inappropriate and non-consensual kissing of a party official at a Democratic gala and of another woman at an Equality NC event, escaping the controversy in political circles. Top Democratic Democrats including North Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Wayne Goodwin and state House Democratic leader Rep. Darren Jackson had called for Hall’s resignation, but he refused to do so. Dahle will be facing Republican candidate Brennan Brooks and Libertarian candidate Travis Groo on November 6th.
Montana House of Representatives Democratic candidate Amelia Marquez will face Republican candidate Rodney Garcia after winning the Democratic primary with 65% of the vote. Garcia served as the Democratic representative in State House District 93 in the 1980s and ran unsuccessfully for State Senate in 2014 and 2016. He has been arrested and convicted of domestic violence in the past by his ex-wife.
Marquez is hoping to win the mid-term election and become the first openly transgender state legislator ever elected in Montana and the first openly trans woman of color ever elected to and seated in a state legislature in American history.
Once elected to office, LGBTQ elected officials take tangible action in fighting sexual assault. Earlier in June, U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) led 57 other House Democrats in calling on Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI-01) to include guidance on sexual orientation and gender identity as part of the Workplace Rights and Responsibilities education program, an anti-workplace harassment and discrimination training attended by Members of Congress and their staff.
It is crucial LGBTQ candidates continue to be elected to public office and make history as they are doing pioneering work combatting sexual harassment and assault. This is especially significant as this fights the narrative that LGBTQ people are sexual predators, as was perpetuated with the Briggs Initiative and continues to be argued today, especially in bathroom bills that discriminate against transgender individuals.