The LGBTQ Victory Fund, the only national organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ leaders to public office, has endorsed 80 more out LGBTQ candidates running in the 2022 midterms.

This is the largest number of LGBTQ candidates endorsed by Victory Fund in one month ever, further illustrating the historic momentum behind LGBTQ people running for public office across the country. Victory Fund has now endorsed 206 candidates for 2022.

Candidates endorsed include U.S. House candidate Robert Zimmerman (NY-03), who would be the first out LGBTQ member of Congress from Long Island. Zimmerman was given Game Changer candidate status. Mayoral candidate Ty Penserga, who would be the first out LGBTQ mayor of Boynton Beach, Florida, was upgraded to Spotlight candidate status.

Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, released the following statement about the new endorsements:

“Today’s endorsements signal a historic moment for the LGBTQ community – this is the most out LGBTQ people we have ever endorsed in a single month and there are more out LGBTQ people running for public office than ever before in history. This midterm election is about enthusiasm. Voters across the country are excited – and determined – to elect candidates with diverse perspectives who instill messages of hope, acceptance and courage. This is just the beginning. The Rainbow Wave is stronger than ever.”

The complete list of candidate endorsements announced:

Game Changer Endorsement

Robert Zimmerman (he/him)

U.S. House of Representatives, NY-03

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Upgraded to Spotlight Endorsement

Ty Penserga (he/him)

Mayor of Boynton Beach, FL

General: 3/8/2022

General Endorsements

Phillip Bailey (he/him)

Glendale Board of Aldermen, District 4, WI

General: 4/5/2022

Jimmy Biblarz (he/him)

Los Angeles City Council, District 5, CA

Primary: 6/7/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Precious Brady-Davis (she/her)

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Commission, IL

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Porscha Brown (she/her)

Harris County Criminal Court, No. 3, TX

Primary: 3/1/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Todd Connor (he/him)

Indiana State Senate, District 4

Primary: 5/3/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Steve Duble (he/him)

Harris County Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Place 2, TX

Primary: 3/1/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Kris Fair (he/him)

Maryland House of Delegates, District 3A

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Dom Gelsomino (he/him)

Idaho House of Representatives, District 21A

Primary: 5/17/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Adam Gentle (he/him)

Florida House of Representatives, District 120

Primary: 8/23/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Denise Hernández (she/her)

Travis County Court at Law, No. 6, TX

Primary: 3/1/2022

General: 11/8/2022

SJ Howell (they/them)

Montana House of Representatives, District 95

Primary: 6/7/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Aurora Hurd (they/them)

Winooski City Council, VT

General: 3/1/2022

Celia Israel (she/her)

Mayor of Austin, TX

General: 11/8/2022

Marybeth Lennox-Levins (she/her)

Rutland City Board of School Commissioners, VT

General: 3/1/2022

Ashanti Martinez (he/him)

Maryland House of Delegates, District 22

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Jaylin McClinton (he/him)

Cook County Commission, District 5, IL

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Jim Obergefell (he/him)

Ohio House of Representatives, District 89

Primary: 5/3/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Krystal Oriadha (she/her)

Prince George’s County Council, District 7, MD

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Thomas Renner (he/him)

Winooski City Council, VT

General: 3/1/2022

Joseph Rocha (he/him)

California State Senate, District 40

Primary: 6/7/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Nick Ross (they/them)

Appleton Area School District Board of Education

Primary: 2/15/2022

General: 4/5/2022

Alex Ruggiers (he/him)

Norman Public School Board, Office 2, OK

Runoff: 4/5/2022

Izzy Smith-Wade-El (he/him)

Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 50

Primary: 5/17/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Jacob Torgerson (he/him)

Montana House of Representatives, District 81

Primary: 6/7/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Michael Weaver (he/him)

Cook County Circuit Court, IL

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Sandis Wright (he/him)

Andover School Committee, MA

General: 3/22/2022

General Incumbent Endorsements

James Aguilar (he/him)

San Leandro Unified School District Board of Trustees, CA

General: 11/8/2022

Brian Alston (he/him)

Sumter School District Board of Trustees, SC

General: 11/8/2022

Nickie Antonio (she/her)

Ohio State Senate, District 23

Primary: 5/3/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Lisa Belcastro (she/her)

Maryland House of Delegates, District 11

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Rachel Bell (she/her)

Davidson County General Sessions Court, Division 8, TN

Primary: 5/3/2022

General: 8/4/2022

Pamela Boozer-Strother (she/her)

Prince George’s County Board of Education, District 3, MD

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Joshua Boschee (he/him)

North Dakota House of Representatives, District 44

Primary: 6/14/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Andrés Cano (he/him)

Arizona House of Representatives, District 20

Primary: 8/3/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Tim Carpenter (he/him)

Wisconsin State Senate, District 3

Primary: 8/9/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Brian Cina (they/he/she)

Vermont House of Representatives, Chittenden 6-4

Primary: 8/9/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Domonique Clemons (he/him)

Genesee County Commission, District 4, MI

Primary: 8/2/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Luke Clippinger (he/him)

Maryland House of Delegates, District 46

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Julian Cyr (he/him)

Massachusetts State Senate, Cape and Islands

Primary: 9/6/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Allison Dahle (she/her)

North Carolina House of Representatives, District 11

Primary: 5/17/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Scott Dibble (he/him)

Minnesota State Senate, District 61

Primary: 8/9/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Evan Glass (he/him)

Montgomery County Council, At-Large, MD

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Deborah Glick (she/her)

New York State Assembly, District 66

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Jessica González (she/her)

Texas House of Representatives, District 104

Primary: 3/1/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Mary González (she/her)

Texas House of Representatives, District 75

Primary: 3/1/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Jessica González-Rojas (she/her)

New York State Assembly, District 34

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Patricia Hansen (she/her)

Evesham Township Council, NJ

Primary: 6/7/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Natalie Higgins (she/her)

Massachusetts House of Representatives, 4th Worcester

Primary: 9/6/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Scott Houston (he/him)

West Basin Municipal Water District Board, Division 4, CA

General: 11/8/2022

Julie Johnson (she/her)

Texas House of Representatives, District 115

Primary: 3/1/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Keir Jones (he/him)

Signal Hill City Council, CA

General: 11/8/2022

Anne Kaiser (she/her)

Maryland House of Delegates, 14

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Rebecca Kislak (she/her)

Rhode Island House of Representatives, District 4

Primary: 9/7/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Derek Kitchen (he/him)

Utah State Senate, District 2

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Rebecca Perkins Kwoka (she/her)

New Hampshire State Senate, District 21

Primary: 9/13/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Evan Low (he/him)

California State Assembly, District 26

Primary: 6/7/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Joe Magee (he/they)

Burlington City Council, Ward 3, VT

General: 3/1/2022

Rafael Mandelman (he/him)

San Francisco Board of Supervisors, District 8, CA

General: 11/8/2022

Amanda Maris (she/her)

Durham County District Court Judge, District 14, NC

Primary: 5/17/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Darlene Martinez (she/her)

Maricopa County Constable, Downtown Precinct, AZ

Primary: 8/2/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Marcia Morey (she/her)

North Carolina House of Representatives, District 30

Primary: 5/17/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Emma Mulvaney-Stanak (she/her)

Vermont House of Representatives, Chittenden 6-2

Primary: 8/9/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Greta Neubauer (she/her)

Wisconsin State Assembly, District 66

Primary: 8/9/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Rob Nosse (he/him)

Oregon House of Representatives, District 42

Primary: 5/17/2022

General: 11/8/2022

David Ortiz (he/him)

Colorado House of Representatives, District 38

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Samuel Park (he/him)

Georgia House of Representatives, District 107

Primary: 5/24/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Luke Peterson (he/him)

Lower Platte South Natural Resources District Board, Subdistrict 7, NE

Primary: 5/10/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Lois Reckitt (she/her)

Maine House of Representatives, District 31

Primary: 6/14/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Paul Rolli (he/him)

Wilton Manors City Commission, FL

General: 11/8/2022

Dan Ryan (he/him)

Portland City Commission, OR

Primary: 5/17/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Adam Scanlon (he/him)

Massachusetts House of Representatives, 14th Bristol, MA

Primary: 9/6/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Liz Sheehan (she/her)

Lexington City Council, District 5, KY

Primary: 5/17/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Michael Smith (he/him)

Largo City Commission, Seat 1, FL

General: 11/8/2022

Evelyn Rios Stafford (she/her)

Washington County Justice of the Peace, District 12, AR

Primary: 5/24/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Mauree Turner (they/them)

Oklahoma House of Representatives, District 88

Primary: 6/28/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Christopher Ward (he/him)

California State Assembly, District 78

Primary: 6/7/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Mary Wiseman (she/her)

Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, General Division, OH

Primary: 5/3/2022

General: 11/8/2022

Dennis Woods (he/him)

Palm Springs City Council, District 2, CA

General: 11/8/2022

Erin Zwiener (she/her)

Texas House of Representatives, District 45

Primary: 3/1/2022

General: 11/8/2022

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Mjolnir

Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.


Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.