Elevating LGBTQIA+ Women with Annise Parker

| Jarinete Santos

“A government that represents its diverse communities is critical to a well-functioning democracy. Yet LGBTQ+ people hold just 0.13% of elected positions, despite the most conservative estimates showing LGBTQ+ people as 4.5% of the US population. This absence of LGBTQ+ voices from legislative bodies, judicial positions, and executive offices allows bigoted legislators to push forward anti-LGBTQ+ laws and policies that further marginalize the community. Achieving equitable representation is crucial to ending these attacks—but there is a long road ahead.” — Out for America 2019,” Victory Institute

For LGBTQIA+ people who identify as women, and especially women of color, the barriers to running for office are intensified.

LGBTQ Victory Fund and Victory Institute President and CEO Annise Parker is the first former elected official to lead the organizations, having served six years as a Houston City Council member, six years as City Controller, and six years as Mayor of the city. In this conversation, Annise talks about how she went from being a visible lesbian activist to working in the oil industry, then running and serving in elected office. 

Annise shares candid stories about what it means to run for office and lose, how to network and collaborate with people who have different views than your own, and how to bring leadership strength to bear in politics. In her words, “Here’s the sad secret: most women who lose a race stop. They just stop…if it is what you want, don’t give up. Do what you need to do in order to prepare yourself to run.”


If you’re struggling with the idea of your qualifications being diminished by your sexual identity, check out this clip. 

While your dedication to the LGBTQIA+ community is one to celebrate, your ability to reach new people and show them what you’re going to do for them and your plan for your district is what counts. 

If public service is something you really want to do and you’re ready to do it, whose permission are you waiting for? 


Be sure to check out the full video in the She Should Run Community.

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