Texas – just elected its first ever openly gay Black officeholder

Texas – just elected its first ever openly gay Black officeholder


Jalen McKee-Rodriguez became on Saturday (5 June) the first openly gay Black man to hold elected office in Texas – and he beat the incumbent in a landslide.

Following a tense runoff, McKee-Rodriguez was elected by San Antonio voters to join the city council. In doing so, he triumphantly ousted Jada Andrews-Sullivan in the second district.

With all votes counted, he netted a thumping 63 per cent of the votes compared to just 37 per cent for Andrews-Sullivan.

The councillor-elect in fact worked under Andrew-Sullivan as a communications assistant but quit in 2019 after allegedly suffering anti-gay harassment and discrimination.

He faced off against what he described as a “hostile environment” and “retaliation” from Andrew-Sullivan’s chief of staff, Lou Miller.

Andrew-Sullivan denied that the problems in her office were due to McKee-Rodriguez’s sexuality.

Years on, and McKee-Rodriguez shattered what activists called the “lavender ceiling” as he became the first Black gay man ever elected in the state of Texas.

Black gay man obliterates ‘lavender ceiling’ in historic Texas vote

“I swear to be a hard-working leader every day,” the 25-year-old told ABC affiliate KSAT.

A former maths teacher, McKee-Rodriguez said his victory is a watershed moment in how many in his district simply shrugged off his candidacy. The area, critics said, wasn’t ready for a Black gay official.

They were wrong.

Many people have said that District Two isn’t ready to accept candidates like me. Is District Two ready to accept young gay candidates?” he said.

“Are young gay black men ready to be chosen for any position, wherever they are? And what we have proved, and what the community has proved, is everyone worthy of representation.

And if you have the right motives, the right passion, and a good listener, people will trust it.”

San Antonio LGBT+ advocates praised McKee-Rodriguez’s success which they see as a striking repudiation of the wave of anti-LGBT+ legislation being bulldozed by right-wing state lawmakers.

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