These Black Openly LGBTQ+ Politicians Made History During Texas Primary

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The highly-watched Texas primary election came to a close Tuesday night (March 1) as candidates across the state battled at the ballot box for their place in the midterm election later this year.

The Lone Star State's primary races were notable because of the fierce fight Democrats must put up to maintain their narrow margins in the House. And Texas gained two seats thanks to redistricting. There were several key races to watch including the governor's race which officially left current Republican Gov. Gregg Abbott facing off with former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rouke in November.

Additionally, Texas set a new state record with two dozen openly LGBTQ+ candidates winning races across the state. According to an analysis by The LGBTQ Victory Fund, their wins represent a 33% increase of the previous high of 18 candidates who won in 2020.

Ten of those candidates are running for state legislative seats, that currently has six openly LGBTQ+ members. These wins come at a pivotal moment for Texas as more than 200 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in the state legislature this year alone.

Among the winners are four Black openly LGBTQ+ politicians who could further make history in Texas and beyond.

Venton Jones

Venton Jones is an LGBTQ Victory Fund-endorsed candidate who advanced to a runoff election for a seat in the Texas State House. If he wins, he would be the first out LGBTQ Black legislator who is openly HIV-positive.

Jolanda Jones

Jolanda Jones also advanced to a runoff in an election to a seat in the Texas House. If she wins, she would become the first out LGBTQ Black woman to serve in the body.

Shannon Baldwin

Judge Shannon Baldwin won her primary to the Harris County Criminal Court. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporate and has more than 22 years experience as a lawyer before she became a judge.

Tonya Parker
The Hon. Tonya Parker won her primary race to the Dallas County 116th Judicial Court, a position she's held since 2011. Judge Parker was awarded the 2021 Martin Luther King Jr Justice Award by the Dallas Bar Association and volunteers to support young women aspiring to run for public office.

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