Congress sees record-breaking LGB representation

The 118th Congress has started 2023 by boasting a record-setting number of lesbian, gay and bisexual legislators.

According to the Pew Research Center, the newly minted House and Senate host a total of 13 voting members who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. The two senators and 11 representatives surpass the number in the previous Congress’ by two.

The number more than tripled over the years from the 112th Congress, which included only four representatives and no senators that identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Since that moment, senators Tammy Baldwin and Kyrsten Sinema joined the bodies as the first openly LGBT person and the first openly bisexual person to serve in the chambers, respectively.

Representatives include Democrats Robert Garcia and Mark Takano of California, Sharice Davids of Kansas, Angie Craig of Minnesota, Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, Eric Sorensen of Illinois, Ritchie Torres of New York, Becca Balint of Vermont, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire and David Cicilline of Rhode Island.

George Santos of New York was the only openly gay, non-incumbent Republican elected to the 118th Congress — lies about his life have caused various aspects of his life to come under scrutiny. Santos remains the only LGB-identifying congressperson in the House majority with no plans to resign in the near future.

The newly seated body followed a number of successful votes from the previous Congress in favor of federal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages.

“Thanks to the millions out there who spent years pushing for change, and thanks to the dogged work of my colleagues, my grandchild will get to live in a world that respects and honors their mothers’ marriage,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said during the bill signing.

Schumer’s daughter Alison is in a same-sex marriage and the couple is expecting a child this spring.

While representation of people who are lesbian, gay and bisexual has increased in the legislative branch, politicians who openly identify as transgender or gender nonconforming have yet to be elected to Congress. However, some have tried to win a seat in the chamber despite research showing that voters holding complex views on trans discrimination and policy issues.

At the state level, a similar story plays out, with the first trans man and woman only recently being elected to state offices despite a historically diverse set of midterm victors. In the District, Monika Nemeth held the title of the first trans person elected to a D.C. city government position. She currently serves as president of the Capital Stonewall Democrats.

Ivy Lyons

Ivy Lyons is a digital journalist for Since 2018, they have worked on Capitol Hill, at NBC News in Washington, and with WJLA in Washington.

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