The Windy City has a new mayor, and she is breaking barriers in more ways than one. Yesterday, Lori Lightfoot was elected as the first Black lesbian woman mayor of Chicago. The city is now the largest American city ever to elect a black woman as mayor, according to the New York Times.
Lightfoot is a political outsider who has never previously held an elected position, but that did not stop her from sweeping the mayoral race to replace Rahm Emanuel. Additionally, she outran longtime politicians with strong political networks. Lightfoot was seen as an outsider who may be more removed from the corruption and controversies that have plagued the Chicago political scene; however, she faced homophobic backlash during her campaign.
When the results were announced, Lightfoot came onstage with her wife and her daughter, a sight never before seen in Chicago mayoral elections. In her speech, Lightfoot touched on the historic nature of her campaign and the election, saying that what they were seeing was “a little bit different” from politics as usual.
“They’re seeing a city where it doesn’t matter what color you are, where it sure doesn’t matter how tall you are, and where it doesn’t matter who you love,” Lightfoot said in her speech. “In the Chicago we will build together, we will celebrate our differences. We will embrace our uniqueness. And we will make certain that we all have every opportunity to succeed. Every child out there should know this: Each of you, one day, can be the Mayor of Chicago.”
Lightfoot’s election is inspiring for the queer community. “Lori Lightfoot made history as Chicago’s first openly LGBTQ and Black female mayor,” HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof said in a statement. “HRC was proud to endorse Lightfoot and help turn out the vote for her historic candidacy. We congratulate Lori Lightfoot on her victory and look forward to working closely with her as the first openly LGBTQ and Black female mayor of Chicago to ensure the city moves forward to be an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone.”