Minnesota is on track to have its first openly transgender legislator in the state legislature

ST. Paul, Minn. – A candidate for the Minnesota House of Representatives is poised to make history as the first openly transgender state legislator.

Leigh Finke won her DFL primaries on Tuesday in a credible Democratic neighborhood that includes Falcon Heights, Roseville and St. Paul, making her a barrier-free Minnesota lawmaker following the November election. Only eight openly transgender people currently serve in state legislatures around the country, according to Out. for America, track LGBTQ elected officials across the country.

“It’s really important for the transgender community, like every community, to have our own voice in the decision-making space, especially at a time when transgender people are vilified, vilified, and vilified. Political groups across the country are deeply misunderstood and targeted.” she speaks.

Running for office wasn’t always in her plans, but Finke said laws in place in some states, including Minnesota, have prompted her to consider public service. A 2021 bill introduced in the Minnesota legislature would make it a misdemeanor for transgender girls to play sports in school.

The redistricting of the region, the once-in-a-decade redraw of the political map and the retirement of a longtime lawmaker have opened the door to launching a campaign.

“That was the moment I thought: someone must be there,” she said. “We need transgender people in those rooms.”

Finke is one of 11 LGBTQ candidates running for the Minnesota Legislature this year. That’s a record, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, a group that works to elect candidates across the country to all levels of government. Four legislators sit identified as gay, bisexual, and homosexual.

Sean Meloy, the Victory Foundation’s vice president of political programs, said LGBTQ representation is growing, but it’s still lacking – 35,000 more LGBTQ people need to be elected for “public representation ratio.” our degrees in government offices,” he said.

He said a historic number of openly transgender candidates ran across the country this year.

“As attacks on transgender people have been used as a platform for attacks on LGBTQ equality over the past few years, we have seen more and more transgender candidates advance,” he said. up and say no.

If elected, Finke said he would focus on issues such as increasing access to health care and providing mental health funding to schools. She vowed to be an advocate for LGBTQ people, especially children.

“There are transgender kids in this state looking for a role model and someone has to show up, someone has to be seen, so it’s important to me to do both,” she said. .

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