Rainbow wave’: How LGBTQ+ politicians broke barriers in midterm election

‘I hope that the fever of hatred toward the queer community has finally broke’

Across the country, LGBTQ+ candidates broke barriers Tuesday as part of a new generation of politicians elected to office. In a historic first, LGBTQ+ Americans were on the ballot in all 50 states, a record 678 candidates.

According to the Victory Fund, nearly 400 candidates were elected, sparking the national organization to call the midterm election cycle the “Rainbow Wave” of 2022.

Here in Michigan, seven state legislator candidates who identify as LGBTQ+ won a seat.

“I hope that the fever of hatred toward the queer community has finally broke,” says Antonio Garcia, executive director of Affirmations LGBTQ Community Center.

Garcia says the historic moment speaks volumes.

“It’s a lesson towards everyone that those days of attacking the queer community to try to gin up support and votes are over,” Garcia said. “It didn’t work. Their hate lost.”

Noah Arbit (D) is one of the seven. He won the seat for Michigan House of Representatives District 20.

“I’m very excited that we have a Democratic majority in both chambers of the legislature who are going to make sure that we are actually protecting LGBTQ+ people,” said Arbit.

Ultimately, both believe the biggest takeaway from this “Rainbow Wave” is giving the deeper meaning of representation matters.

“While you may be an ally of the gay community, you didn’t live that life, and it’s important to have lived that experience, “says Garcia. “It is no different from my own Latino family and to have Latino representation, African American family to have African American representation.”

“It’s really important that at a time when LGBTQ+ youth and LGBTQ+ people are really in the crosshairs that, we have leadership and advocates who will know what that’s like, know what it’s like to be part of the community,” Arbit said.

About the Author:

Megan Woods is thrilled to be back home and reporting at Local 4. She joined the team in September 2021. Before returning to Michigan, Megan reported at stations across the country including Northern Michigan, Southwest Louisiana and a sister station in Southwest Virginia.