Almost 4 percent of Americans identify as having a sexual orientation other than straight, but only one Senator and six Representatives (1.3 percent of Congress) currently fall into this category. Only one of the six representatives is a woman.
In 1998, Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) became the first openly lesbian person elected to the House of Representatives, and she became the first openly gay or lesbian person elected to the Senate in 2012. The same year, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) was elected as the first openly bisexual member of the House of Representatives.
No transgender person has ever been elected to the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives. The first transgender member of a state legislature, Althea Garrison, was elected in 1992 in Massachusetts, but it should be noted that her gender identity was not widely known during her campaign. In 2008, Stu Rasmussen was elected mayor of Silverton, Oregon and became the first openly transgender mayor elected in the U.S.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown became the first openly bisexual governor when she was appointed to the position in 2015. She became the first elected openly bisexual governor after the 2016 elections.
Check out our Milestones page to learn more about LGBT+ women breaking barriers throughout history.