It was a mixed night for the LGBTQ+ community in the US midterm elections, with some historic wins for newcomers, but also victories for Republican candidates who have already enacted anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in their states.

With a number of LGBTQ+ issues on the line, from the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill to trans inclusion in sport, voters did take to an overwhelmingly queer ballot as a record number of LGBTQ+ candidates stood for office, but much was at stake.

Here, we’ve summarised some of the biggest wins and losses for the LGBTQ+ community so far.

Win: Maura Healey has become the first out lesbian governor in US history

Maura Healey has won her bid to become the next governor of Massachusetts, making history in the process as the first woman governor and LGBTQ+ governor of the state, as well as the first-ever out lesbian governor in United States history.

Healey, a former civil rights attorney and professional basketball player, defeated Republican candidate and former state representative Geoff Diehl, who was endorsed by disgraced former president Donald Trump.

In her victory speech, Healey addressed “every little girl and every young LGBTQ person out there”, saying: “I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever, whoever you want to be, and nothing and no one can ever get in your way except your own imagination, and that’s not going to happen.”

Loss: Greg Abbott, an architect of several anti-trans policies in his state, won re-election

Republican Greg Abbott won his governor race against Democrat Beto O’Rourke, shoring up the right-wing party’s control of Texas. No Democrat has won statewide office there in nearly 30 years.

Abbott previously compared medical procedures for young transgender people to “child abuse” and called on state agencies to investigate trans families.

Texas has proposed a number of bills related to trans minors in recent years. In 2021, it passed a law banning trans school children from being able to participate in sports teams that match their gender identity.

In 2019, Texas also passed a religious freedom law, which civil rights groups say could allow businesses to withhold services from LGBTQ+ people on the basis of religious objections.

Win: Democrat James Roesener became the first out trans man to be elected to US state legislature

In a huge win for trans representation, Democrat James Roesener has become the first out trans man to be elected to any state legislature in US history.

Winning in New Hampshire’s 22nd state House District, Ward 8, the 26-year-old is proudly bisexual and lives in Concord with his wife and cat.

Roesener says he was “born an advocate for the underdog” and, amongst other issues, is campaigning for better access to affordable, quality, and comprehensive healthcare, more investment in education and defending the right to abortion.

Loss: Architect of ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill Ron DeSantis won a second term as Florida governor

As one of the most controversial and high profile examples of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation in the US, Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill has caused outcry amongst LGBTQ+ activists and already spawned multiple copy cat bills.

The legislation, which is officially called the Parental Rights in Education bill, will restrict “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

Now in a renewed loss for the queer community, the man who signed that bill into law has won his re-election bid.

Ron DeSantis’ victory was to be expected but remains a big loss for Florida as he is set to continue implementing sweeping anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and normalising transphobic rhetoric on the public stage.   

Win: Becca Balint won a landslide victory to become the first lesbian to occupy Vermont’s single seat in the House of Representatives

Democrat Becca Balint has won the race for Vermont’s lone seat in the House, becoming the first woman and first out lesbian to represent the state in Congress.

On the evening of Tuesday 9 November, Balint thanked her supporters in an Instagram post: “Today, we reaffirmed that Vermont, and this nation, is still a place where anything is possible. We’re still capable of change and progress.”

The former middle school teacher is passionate about protecting voter rights and has voiced concerns over the transparency of the US Supreme Court.

Win: Delaware re-elected the US’ first openly trans state senator Sarah McBride

Sarah McBride has won re-election, in 2021 she became the first openly transgender person to be elected to the US state senate.

At just 30 years old, her win makes her the highest ranking transgender public official in the United States.

Win: Jared Polis, the first openly gay man to be elected and re-elected to a governorship in the United States, won re-election

Democrat Jared Polis will serve a second term as the governor of Colorado after winning re-election, defeating Republican challenger Heidi Ganahl

In his victory speech, Polis said: “The fact is we did something simple. We focused on issues that really affect people’s lives and we delivered real results. We focused on lowering costs and more freedom.”

Loss: LGBTQ+ rights icon Jim Obergefell lost his election in Ohio

His case to the Supreme Court, Obergefell vs. Hodges, ushered in marriage equality in the US back in 2015, but today Jim Obergefell failed to win his election in Ohio.

Running against Republican incumbent attorney D.J. Swearingen, Ohio has elected very few openly gay politicians to the legislature. State Senator Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, has been the only openly gay state lawmaker in Ohio for several years.

Tweeting after the result, Obergefell said: “The results were not what we were hoping for, but that does not mean that I will stop fighting.”

Win: Leigh Finke has become the first openly trans person elected to Minnesota House

Leigh Finke has made history as the first openly transgender legislator elected to the Minnesota House after the 2022 midterm elections.

She beat her Republican opponent, Trace Johnson, by a vote of 81% to 18%, CBS News reported.

“In the last two years, we’ve been seeing just a marked increase in the coordinated attacks against trans people and trans communities in the United States and in Minnesota,” she explained.

Win: Christian “Manuel” Hayes and Venton Jones become the first two openly gay Black men elected to Texas state legislature

The Democrats who represent Beaumont and Dallas, respectively, have made huge strides in becoming the first two openly gay Black men elected to the Texas Legislature.

Together, along with Jolanda Jones who became the state’s first openly gay and Black state legislator when she won a special election back in May, they boost the number of openly LGBTQ+ state lawmakers to eight.

Venton Jones will also be the first openly HIV-positive Texas lawmaker. “I’m ready to fight for democratic principles and fight for LGBTQIA rights because somebody’s got to stand up for us,” Jones told The Dallas Morning News.

Win: Zooey Zephyr becomes the first ever trans person to be elected to the Montana state legislature

Trans candidate Zooey Zephyr won the election for Montana’s 100th state House District.

As a progressive, bisexual trans woman, Zooey has spent her personal and professional life advocating for queer rights.

With the historic victory, she is now the first out trans person ever elected to the Montana state legislature.

Win: Robert Garcia wins election and becomes the first out gay immigrant in Congress

Garcia immigrated to the US from Peru with his family when he was just 5 years old. He became mayor of Long Beach in 2014, where he took the title of being the city’s youngest mayor, the first out gay one, and the first immigrant to hold the office.

The Democrat won the House seat in California’s 42nd Congressional District over Republican and businessman John Briscoe, with Garcia gaining 68% of the vote and Briscoe 32%, according to the ballot.

When launching his bid for Congress, Garcia tweeted: “My mom brought me to this country when I was 5. She risked everything so that I could succeed. Every single kid deserves the same shot that this country has given me.”

More Wins: Maryland elected its first Black governor and Maxwell Alejandro Frost became the first Gen-Z’er to be elected to the House of Representatives

Wes Moore is Maryland’s newly-elected governor, in his acceptance speech, Moore thanked voters for believing in “the son of an immigrant”.

Frost, a high-profile organiser and activist who has worked with the ACLU and the March for Our Lives, ran a progressive campaign that committed to “end gun violence, win Medicare For All, transform our racist criminal justice system, and end the climate crisis”.