The world has seen a significant increase in the number of openly LGBTQ+ politicians in recent years, as more people feel comfortable expressing their true selves in public office. This list highlights 20 politicians who are proud members of the LGBTQ+ community, showcasing the diversity and strength of the global political landscape. Here, we delve into their accomplishments, contributions, and advocacy for LGBTQ+ rights, as well as their dedication to the political sphere.
1. Tammy Baldwin (United States)
Democrat Tammy Baldwin made history by becoming the first openly gay Senator when she was elected in 2012. A strong advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, she played a significant role in repealing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the military. Additionally, Senator Baldwin has been a dedicated supporter of affordable healthcare and environmental sustainability.
2. Leo Varadkar (Ireland)
After taking office as Taoiseach (Prime Minister) in 2017, Leo Varadkar became the first openly gay head of government in the history of Ireland. As leader, he played a vital role in the successful 2018 referendum to repeal Ireland’s restrictive abortion laws. Varadkar continues to serve as a prominent figure in Irish politics and an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights.
3. Ana Brnabić (Serbia)
Ana Brnabić, Prime Minister of Serbia since 2017, has become the first openly lesbian head of government in the Balkans. With a focus on modernizing the country, she has spearheaded initiatives to digitize public administration and improve Serbia’s environmental policies. Brnabić has also been influential in Serbia’s efforts to join the European Union.
4. Kate Brown (United States)
The first openly bisexual governor in the United States is Kate Brown, governor of Oregon. Throughout her tenure, she has championed progressive policies on gun control, climate change, and reproductive rights. Brown is also committed to improving the state’s education system and addressing homelessness.
5. Mounir Baatour (Tunisia)
The first openly gay candidate for Tunisia’s presidency in 2019 was Mounir Baatour, a prominent lawyer and LGBTQ+ activist. As the leader of the Liberal Party, he advocates for a more open and inclusive Tunisia, pushing for changes in the country’s laws that criminalize homosexuality. Baatour’s work in politics demonstrates the growing global importance of LGBTQ+ representation.
6. Mariela Castro (Cuba)
She is an influential LGBTQ+ activist and politician and the daughter of former Cuban president Ral Castro. As director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education (CENESEX), she has played a pivotal role in advancing LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance in Cuba. Castro has been instrumental in policy changes, including legalizing same-sex marriage and gender confirmation surgery.
7. Maite Oronoz Rodríguez (Puerto Rico)
The first openly LGBTQ+ Chief Justice of the Puerto Rico Supreme Court, Maite Oronoz Rodriguez, works tirelessly to promote justice and equality. Appointed in 2016, she has contributed to landmark rulings in favor of LGBTQ+ rights and marriage equality. Oronoz Rodríguez’s historic appointment has made her a trailblazer for LGBTQ+ representation in the judiciary.
8. Robert Biedroń (Poland)
Robert Biedroń, a Polish politician and member of the European Parliament, is an openly gay politician in a country that is still grappling with LGBTQ+ rights. As a former mayor and a founding member of the progressive party Spring, Biedroń has consistently championed environmental issues, social justice, and LGBTQ+ rights, pushing for change in Poland and across the EU.
9. Angie Craig (United States)
Representative Angie Craig, who represents Minnesota in the House of Representatives from Minnesota, is the first openly lesbian mother to serve in Congress. Throughout her time in office, Craig has been a strong advocate for affordable healthcare, equal pay, and LGBTQ+ rights. As a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, she has worked to ensure legal protections for all LGBTQ+ individuals.
10. Alex Greenwich (Australia)
Alex Greenwich, an Australian politician and Member of Parliament, has played a pivotal role in advocating for marriage equality in Australia. As the co-chair of the Australian Marriage Equality campaign, Greenwich worked tirelessly to see the successful passage of marriage equality legislation in 2017. He continues to work on issues such as climate change, housing affordability, and LGBTQ+ rights in his role as an MP.
11. Sylvia Lim (Singapore)
Sylvia Lim, a prominent Singaporean opposition politician, is the first openly bisexual woman to be elected to Singapore’s Parliament. As the chairperson of the Workers’ Party, she has been a vocal advocate for greater government transparency and accountability. Lim has also pushed for policies that promote social equality and inclusivity, both within and beyond the LGBTQ+ community.
12. David Cicilline (United States)
David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, is one of the few openly gay members of the U.S. House of Representatives. A tireless advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, Cicilline has played an instrumental role in introducing and supporting the Equality Act, which aims to provide comprehensive anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. Additionally, he is committed to addressing economic inequality and promoting social justice.
13. Lord Waheed Alli (United Kingdom)
A champion of LGBTQ+ rights and diversity in the UK, Lord Waheed Alli is the first openly gay Muslim member of the House of Lords. He has worked diligently to promote inclusive policies in areas such as education, media, and employment. Lord Alli’s commitment to social justice extends beyond LGBTQ+ rights, as he also campaigns for global poverty reduction and climate change mitigation.
14. Ricardo Lara (United States)
As California’s first openly gay statewide elected official, Ricardo Lara has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, environmental justice, and healthcare reform. As the state’s Insurance Commissioner, Lara works to protect consumers and ensure that insurance markets are accessible and fair for all Californians. He is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and has fought to expand healthcare access.
15. Chris Lea (Canada)
Transgender leader Chris Lea has been a trailblazer on the issue of LGBTQ+ rights in Canada. As the former leader of the Green Party, Lea was instrumental in advocating for inclusive environmental policies, social justice, and the rights of transgender individuals. Though Lea stepped down from the role in 1997, her impact on Canadian politics and LGBTQ+ representation remains significant.
16. Sunčica Kopunović (Montenegro)
An openly lesbian politician from Montenegro, Sunica Kopunovic is a Member of Parliament for the Social Democratic Party. Throughout her career, Kopunović has been a strong advocate for human rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQ+ rights. Her work in Parliament has focused on promoting equality, inclusivity, and social justice in Montenegro.
17. Louisa Wall (New Zealand)
Louisa Wall, a New Zealand Labour Party politician and Member of Parliament, is an openly lesbian advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Wall was the driving force behind the passage of New Zealand’s Marriage Equality Bill in 2013. She remains a prominent voice for LGBTQ+ rights and works on other social justice issues.
18. Jens Spahn (Germany)
Since 2018, Jens Spahn has been Germany’s Federal Minister of Health. A member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Spahn has been instrumental in implementing reforms to the German healthcare system, such as improving access to mental health care and lowering drug costs. Despite facing challenges in a traditionally conservative party, Spahn’s accomplishments have made him a significant figure in German politics.
19. Clodagh Malone (Northern Ireland)
Her entire political career, Clodagh Malone, who is openly transgender, has been dedicated to advocating for LGBTQ+ rights and representation. As a member of the Green Party, Malone is committed to sustainable environmental policies, social justice, and gender equality. Her work as a political candidate and community activist helps to break down barriers for transgender individuals in politics.
20. Gustavo Petro (Colombia)
Former Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro served as an openly bisexual politician from 2012 to 2015. As a member of the Colombia Humana party, Petro has been a strong advocate for social justice, environmental sustainability, and LGBTQ+ rights. Throughout his career, he has worked to reduce poverty, promote education, and create more inclusive policies in Colombia.
These 20 politicians demonstrate that LGBTQ+ individuals can achieve remarkable success in the political sphere while remaining true to their identities. Each of them has played a significant role in shaping policies and promoting equality and inclusivity within their respective countries. Their accomplishments show that representation matters, as it enables the development of more equitable, diverse, and inclusive societies around the world.