A new report released by Washington, D.C.-based LGBTQ Victory Institute found that Michigan ranks fifth in the nation for the highest number of openly LGBTQ+ elected officials. The state, the report shows, has a total of 28 state and local elected leaders who identify as LGBTQ+. In addition to Attorney General Dana Nessel, the highest ranking, the state has two LGBTQ+ mayors, three state legislators, 28 local officials and three judges.
Michigan is behind California (157), Pennsylvania (54), Illinois (43) and New York (38) on the report. Mississippi, meanwhile, is the only state to have no LGBTQ+ elected officials.
"Over the past year, we've seen an incredible jump in the number of LGBTQ+ people elected to public office — and they are becoming more representative of our entire community as well," said former Houston mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of the Victory Institute. "These public servants are leading the way in passing conversion therapy bans in city councils, fighting anti-trans bills in state legislatures and in passing the Equality Act in the U.S. House."
The report also found that there are 986 LGBTQ+ elected officials in the U.S. If that number appears impressive, consider this. According to the report, only 0.19 percent of elected officials in the nation identify as LGBTQ+ whereas LGBTQ+ people make up 5.6 percent of the country's population. This means there would need to be a substantial amount of more LGBTQ+ people elected to achieve equitable representation.
"We still must elect 28,116 more LGBTQ+ people to public office before equitable representation is achieved," Parker said. "And we must ensure those leaders are as diverse as our community."