2022 Overview & Key Findings
More LGBTQ people are running for U.S. Congress in 2022 than in any other election cycle in U.S. history. At least 101 people ran or are running for the U.S. Senate or U.S. House – with 96 still actively running as of February 21, 2022. That marks a 16.1 percent increase in LGBTQ Congressional candidates compared to the 2020 election cycle, when 87 people ran.
LGBTQ candidates ran or are running for U.S. Congress in the 2022 cycle
increase in LGBTQ Congressional candidates compared to 2020
LGBTQ candidates actively running for U.S. Senate
LGBTQ candidates actively running for U.S. House
Among the key findings:
- LGBTQ Congressional candidates are the most racially and ethnically diverse in history, with 41 percent of LGBTQ Congressional candidates identifying as people of color – a growth of 57.7 percent since 2020;
- Latinx LGBTQ Congressional candidates doubled since 2020 (from six to 12) and Black LGBTQ Congressional candidates increased by 89 percent (from nine to 17);
- Trans Congressional candidates doubled between 2020 and 2022 (from five to 10) and Congressional candidates who do not identify as cisgender increased by 70 percent (from 10 to 17);
- Bisexual Congressional candidates grew by 38 percent (from eight to 11) and gay men by 45 percent (from 40 to 58);
- 16 of the 96 active LGBTQ candidates are running in competitive districts* that will determine control of the U.S. House and three are running U.S. Senate races in key swing states;
- LGBTQ people are currently known to be running for Congress in 33 states – less than the 36 states with LGBTQ Congressional candidates in 2020 and 40 states in 2018; and
- Currently there are nine out LGBTQ members of the U.S. House and two out LGBTQ members of the U.S. Senate.
* According to the Cook Political Report as of February 22, 2022. This does not include states where district maps have not been finalized.
LGBTQ Representation in Congress
Nine LGBTQ people hold seats in the U.S. House and two hold seats in the U.S. Senate. Just 2.1 percent of the 435 members of the House are LGBTQ, despite conservative estimates showing LGBTQ people are 5.6 percent of the U.S. population. America would need to elect 15 more LGBTQ people – for a total of 24 – to have equitable LGBTQ representation in the U.S. House.
In Congress’ 232-year history, only 17 out LGBTQ people have been elected to the U.S. House and just two to the U.S. Senate.
Race & Ethnicity of LGBTQ Congressional Candidates, 2018-2022
The group of LGBTQ Congressional candidates running in 2022 is significantly more diverse than in past election cycles. Forty-one percent of LGBTQ Congressional candidates in 2022 are people of color, slightly more than the percentage of people of color in the U.S. population (39 percent). Thirty percent were Congressional candidates of color during the 2020 election cycle and only 19 percent during the 2018 cycle.
LGBTQ Latinx Congressional candidates saw the largest growth between 2020 and 2022, doubling in number from six to 12. LGBTQ Black Congressional candidates increased by 89 percent – from nine to 17 – and represent the largest proportion of candidates of color.
Sexual Orientation of LGBTQ Congressional Candidates, 2018-2022
Bisexual Congressional candidates grew by 38 percent between 2020 and 2022 (from eight to 11) and pansexual candidates increased by 50 percent (from four to six). Yet gay men continue to represent the largest proportion of LGBTQ Congressional candidates – 57 percent of all LGBTQ Congressional candidates – and saw a 45 percent increase in their number between 2020 and 2022.
The number of lesbian Congressional candidates have shrunk the last two cycles, despite the growth in LGBTQ Congressional candidates overall. Eleven lesbian Congressional candidates are running in 2022, a decrease of 39 percent from 2020, when 18 lesbians ran. In 2018, 21 lesbians ran for Congress.
Gender Identity & Sex of LGBTQ Candidates, 2018-2022
There is a 70 percent increase in the number of Congressional candidates who do not identify as cisgender – including trans, non-binary, genderqueer, gender non-conforming and Two Spirit candidates. Seventeen non-cisgender Congressional candidates are running in 2022 compared to 10 in 2020.
The number of trans candidates running for Congress doubled between 2020 and 2022 – from five to 10. While only two were trans men, zero trans men ran for Congress in 2018 or 2020. In 2018, 17 trans women ran for Congress, many of them inspired by the 2017 election cycle dubbed the “Year of the Trans Candidate” because of high-profile trans candidate victories at the state and local level.
Cisgender men accounted for 63 percent of all LGBTQ Congressional candidates, a much larger proportion than in 2020 (52 percent) or 2018 (49 percent), and the number of cisgender women decreased by 35 percent.
Despite the enormous increase in non-binary and genderqueer candidates who ran in 2021, the number of non-binary and genderqueer Congressional candidates decreased between 2020 and 2022 (from five to two).
LGBTQ Congressional Candidates by State & District, 2018-2022
Congressional candidates are running in 33 states, three less than in 2020 and seven less than in 2018. There are currently no known LGBTQ Congressional candidates in 17 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Eight LGBTQ U.S. Senate candidates are running in seven states: Florida, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania (2), Utah, Vermont and Washington.
Sixteen of the 96 active LGBTQ Congressional candidates are running in one of the 53 districts considered competitive by Cook Political Report as of February 22, 2022 – making LGBTQ candidates a significant determinant of which party holds the majority next year. Currently, Democrats hold 222 seats and Republicans 212, with one vacancy.
LGBTQ candidates are running in the following districts deemed competitive* in 2022:
*As of February 22, 2022. This list does not include states that haven’t finalized district maps.
LGBTQ Congressional Candidates by Party, 2018-2022
Eighty-seven of the 101 LGBTQ Congressional candidates are running as Democrats, four as Republicans and three as Independents. Seven are unknown.
2022 Victory Fund Endorsed Candidates
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