It is fitting timing that Lori Lightfoot, the surprise upstart mayoral candidate from Chicago, was sworn into her new office yesterday, as it is the beginning of pride season and Lightfoot is Chicago’s first openly LGBTQ mayor. She is also the first Black woman to hold the office. Chicago is the country’s third largest city, and Lightfoot made history after a strong campaign focused on decreasing corruption in the city. She succeeds former mayor Rahm Emmanual.
“I’m looking ahead to a city of safe streets and strong schools for every child, regardless of neighborhood or ZIP code,” Lori Lightfoot said at her inauguration. “A city where people want to grow old and not flee. A city of sanctuary against fear, where no one must hide in the shadows. A city that is affordable for families and seniors, and where every job pays a living wage.”
Lightfoot also paid tribute to her 90-year-old mother during her speech. Her mother once served on the Ohio school board—a move that inspired Lightfoot.
“She’s my role model, my champion,” Lightfoot remarked. “The woman whose dreams and high expectations for me propelled me through life—my mother, Ann Lightfoot.”
Lightfoot’s campaign event drew more than 8,000 people and featured performances by Miguel Cervantes from Chicago’s production of Hamilton, and the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, among others. Outside the event, spectators were excited about welcoming their first LGBTQ mayor.
“To have an openly gay mayor is a blessing,” a local resident, Kim Townsend, told the Chicago Tribune. “Nowadays, these kids, so many identify as gay. They need a support system, and she gives them someone to look up to. She’s out in the open — not hiding who she is.”
Lori Lightfoot is just one of the many new openly LGBTQ elected officials that took office this year, a turn of events that has the potential to drastically increase LGBTQ visibility and support.