While we wait for the final results of the 2020 Presidential Election, we do have some good news to report on the local front. On Tuesday, Florida elected its first Black and out LGBTQ+ person to the state senate. Shevrin Jones, who has served in the House of Representatives since 2012, was victorious in his race for senator in the Democratic 35th district, an area that straddles both Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
While Jones didn’t face a Republican in this race, his path to the election was not without adversity. In July, he tested positive for Covid-19, as did both his parents following his own diagnosis. It was around this time that his then-Democratic opponent tried to spin his sexuality into negative press and discredit his leadership skills. Jones persevered by “staying focused on what the people’s challenges were,” he shared in an interview.
Jones, who lives in Hollywood, Florida, came out in 2018 and became the first openly gay black person as well as the first openly LGBTQ+ black person to serve in the Florida Legislature. For this milestone, he’s joined by Black queer woman Michele Rayner-Goolsby, another trailblazer in the LGBTQ community who was just elected to Florida’s House of Representatives.
Congrats to both!