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9 queer political figures creating a more perfect union this election year

2020 is shaping up to be the mother of all election years, and not just because there is a political awakening happening all across the nation. The sheer number of LGBTQ candidates running for office at all levels of government is unprecedented in American history.

With literally hundreds of queer candidates on ballots and even more working behind the scenes, it would be impossible to include them all in our Pride 50 roundup. So we've done our best to select a mix of people to highlight, knowing full well that there are many, many others who are just as deserving and worthy of honor this pride season.

Regardless of what happens in November, these politicos are taking up the challenge to run for office, raise funds, and to organize and strategize behind the scenes, all helping to pave the way for the future of equality.

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5. Mondaire Jones

The Harvard Law School grad and Obama Justice Department alum is running to represent New York’s 17th congressional district. If elected in November, he will become America’s first openly gay Black U.S. congressman.

It will not have happened overnight, however. In high school, Jones revived his local NAACP Youth Council and led an effort to register new voters. And at 19, he was elected chair of a committee on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors.

While attending Stanford University, Jones led a number of progressive causes on campus, from improving faculty and graduate student diversity to securing a living wage for dining hall and maintenance workers. He also spoke out against police racial profiling, resulting in the police chief’s resignation and reforms within the Palo Alto Police Department.

After college, Jones served in the Obama Administration, working in the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice, where he helped facilitate a number of judicial confirmations, including that of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan.

Jones won his primary on June 23 with 44% of the vote. He will face off with Republican Maureen McArdle Schulman in November.

Speaking to CBS News about the prospect of being the first openly gay Black member elected to Congress, Jones said:

I’m happy to be providing that kind of representation for so many young people and older people all throughout my district and all throughout this country who have reached out to me and said, ‘I’m so inspired by what you’re doing. You give me hope and I can be my authentic self in a world filled with so much injustice,’ and it’s really an honor to be able to do that.

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