It’s now official: Mississippi has elected its first out state legislator.
Fabian Nelson, a Black gay man, had already won a Democratic primary runoff in House of Representatives District 66 and had no opposition in Tuesday’s general election except for a write-in campaign. But now he’s won the general. The district is located in the Jackson metro area.
“At a time when bigotry in politics is on the rise, voters in Mississippi House District 66 have chosen a different path,” said a statement from Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, which endorsed Nelson. “Fabian’s victory is a testament to his dedication to his community and his tireless work earning the support of voters on the campaign trail. Today, we celebrate with all the Mississippians who long for a better future that’s free of discrimination and hate. We look forward to seeing Fabian take his place in the Mississippi House of Representatives and get to work making the Magnolia State a more welcoming place for all.”
Nelson, a real estate professional, has said his priorities as a state representative will include better funding for education, supporting small businesses, and expanding Medicaid. He plans to be a voice for marginalized people in the deeply conservative state as well.
Louisiana is now the only state that has never elected an out LGBTQ+ state lawmaker.
Mississippi also elected its first out county supervisor. Democrat Justin Lofton, a same-gender-loving man, won the August primary runoff for the Board of Supervisors in Pike County, in the southwestern part of the state, and he had no opponent in the general election. His election to the county board is now official.
GLAAD hailed pro-equality victories in Mississippi and elsewhere. In addition to Nelson’s win, these included trans woman Danica Roem’s election as a Virginia state senator, the enshrining of abortion rights in Ohio’s constitution, and LGBTQ+ ally Andy Beshear’s reelection as Kentucky governor.
“Voters for LGBTQ equality and everyone’s fundamental freedoms came out in force in the 2023 election, reflecting the reality that a supermajority of Americans support LGBTQ people and our right not to be discriminated against,” said a statement from GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “The results will lead to a better lived reality for LGBTQ people in the South and Midwest, and send a message to all lawmakers: LGBTQ people are valued members of our communities, we value everyone’s freedom to be themselves and make their own health care decisions, and we embrace diversity in our elected officials. LGBTQ voters and our allies must continue to use the power of their voice and votes for equality and a more just and prosperous country, and build on this momentum for the consequential elections of 2024 — we can’t wait.”