Ritchie Torres & Mondaire Jones Become the First Openly Gay Black Men Elected to Congress

New York Democrats Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones just made history.

This week, Torres and Jones became the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress.

After winning a 12-way Democratic primary in June, Torres — who, per The New York Times, identifies as both Black and Latino — defeated Republican Patrick Delices to represent the state’s 15th District.

“Tonight, we made history,” Torres, a New York City Council member, tweeted. “It is the honor of a lifetime to represent the essential borough, the Bronx.”

“It is the honor of a lifetime to represent a borough filled with essential workers who risked their lives so that New York City could live. My pledge to the district is simple: I will fight for you,” he added in a statement. “The Bronx is my home, it is what made me who I am, and it is what I will fight for in Congress.”

The Times reports that Torres is also the first openly gay Latino member of Congress.

Jones, a lawyer who graduated from Stanford University and Harvard Law School, will be a representative for New York’s 17th District after his victory over Republican Maureen McArdle-Schulman.

Prior to his win, Jones told CBS News in June that it was “a lot of responsibility” to possibly become one of the first gay Black Congressmen.

“I’m happy to be providing that kind of representation for so many young people and older people all throughout my district and all throughout this country who have reached out to me and said, ‘I’m so inspired by what you’re doing,’” he told the outlet.

“‘You give me hope and I can be my authentic self in a world filled with so much injustice,’ and it’s really an honor to be able to do that.”

Per NBC News, there are currently nine openly LGBTQIA+ members of Congress, including seven representatives in the House and two senators.

In 2012, Rep. Mark Takano became the first openly gay person of color elected to Congress.

Both Torres and Jones will enter the House in January.


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