Chicago's city council swore in nine members of the LGBTQ+ community on Monday, making it the most queer-inclusive in the nation's history.
Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people now make up nearly 20 percent of the 50-person board, which the LGBTQ Victory Fund has cited as a historic high. The landmark comes after Timmy Knudsen, Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, and Lamont Robinson won their runoff elections in April.
“Tonight’s wins make it clear that Chicago will remain a national leader for LGBTQ+ rights and that at the end of the day, Chicagoans saw through anti-LGBTQ dog whistles and chose exceptional LGBTQ+ leaders because of their qualifications, positive visions for the city and deeply rooted community support," President & CEO of LGBTQ+ Victory Fund Annise Parker said in a statement at the time. "We are confident that under their leadership, Chicago will continue on its path towards increased equity and opportunity for all residents.”
According to data from the Williams Institute, over 4 percent of Chicago's population identifies as LGBTQ+. The Census Bureau reports that nearly a third of Chicago's population is Latino. Following the runoff victories, the council’s LGBT Caucus, which was formed in 2015, is now also the most racially diverse in its history.
“This is a great thing because it makes the city of Chicago more reflective of the true diversity in our neighborhoods,” Raymond Lopez, now the most senior member of the caucus, told Block Club Chicago. “Issues that have long gone unresolved or unconsidered simply because they weren’t someone else’s issues may actually be addressed.”
The city’s newly inaugurated mayor, Brandon Johnson, secedes the city's first Black woman mayor, as well as openly LGBTQ+ mayor, Lori Lightfoot. Johnson's campaign promised to continue to “champion LGBTQ rights as human rights" in Chicago.
“Today I say, with a deep belief and conviction: our best and brightest days are ahead of us,” Johnson said Monday in a tweet. “We can lead Chicago to a new era. United, we will build a better, stronger, safer city.”