DNC Embraces ‘Year of the LGBTQ Woman’

Maura Healey, Annise Parker & Gina Ortiz Jones join previously announced featured speakers Gus Kenworthy and Danica Roem


The Democratic National Committee is proud to announce an entirely LGBTQ, female political speaker line up, led by keynote speaker Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. Victory Fund President and former Houston Mayor Annise Parker and Victory Fund-endorsed congressional candidate Gina Ortiz Jones will also round off the final headliners for the DNC’s upcoming 19th annual DNC LGBTQ Gala.


Read more in the Washington Blade


Each of the trailblazing women announced today has broken barriers and achieved firsts countless times throughout their careers. In 2014, Attorney General Healey became the first openly LGTBQ elected attorney general in the nation and the first LGBTQ statewide elected official in Massachusettes. In 2010, Mayor Parker became the first openly LGBTQ mayor of a major US city and recently became the first former elected official to lead the LGBTQ Victory Institute. If elected, Gina Ortiz Jones will become the first openly lesbian of color elected to Congress. Additionally, she stands to make history in her own backyard by becoming Texas’ first LGBTQ Member of Congress.


“Our shared values are on the ballot this fall and we, as Democrats, must stand up and show the American people we are fighting for them,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “We serve with pride, we fight with pride and we must support the unprecedented numbers of LGBTQ candidates willing to step up with us to make our democracy more diverse and equitable.”

“There are more women, people of color and LGBTQ people running than ever before this cycle, and early primaries have proven voters are demanding more diverse voices in the halls of power,” said Victory Fund President Annise Parker. “I am honored the DNC asked me to speak at its LGBTQ gala and look forward to speaking about the importance of electing more diverse LGBTQ leaders to positions across the country. We need more values-driven LGBTQ elected officials in power not just because the LGBTQ community needs us, but because America needs us.”


“I’m so excited to have such a strong partner in building an America where everyone is welcome, and everyone has the opportunity to live up to their gifts. I’d be honored to be the first out member of Congress from Texas, but it’s even more important that I'm not the last,” said Gina Ortiz Jones. “The work that the DNC is doing to help ensure the success of a diverse set of Democrats is so important, today and for the long haul. I'm thrilled to be a part DNC LGBTQ Gala.”  


In 2017, the Democratic National Committee invested $1.5 million in Virginia to elect Governor Ralph Northam and Democrats up and down the ticket. The resources raised from the 2017 LGBTQ Gala helped the DNC double the number of organizers on the ground and expanded the House of Delegates battlefield last year, where Democrats flipped an astounding 15 seats in the chamber, including electing the first-ever lesbian of color, transgender and Latina lawmakers in state history.


This year, the DNC invested $100,000 in the Wisconsin Democratic Party and an additional $75,000 in the Arizona Democratic Party to begin early organizing in Latino and African American communities to help protect our nation’s first openly LGBTQ Senator Tammy Baldwin and elect our second LGBTQ Senator Kyrsten Sinema. This investment will also help both state parties organize to elect Democrats from the state legislature to the governor’s mansion.


“In the face of sustained Republican efforts to roll back the progress we’ve made, leaders within the LGBTQ community, and LGBTQ women in particular, are stepping up, running for office and fighting back,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “Attorney General Maura Healey, Mayor Annise Parker and Gina Ortiz Jones are trailblazers in their communities and I’m proud that they know that building Democratic infrastructure helps LGBTQ candidates at every level, from school board to Senate.”


“We’re thrilled to welcome such inspiring LGBTQ women to speak at this year’s gala,” said DNC Finance Chair Henry Munoz. “Americans across the country want to see more women elected, and Democrats are making this happen in 2018. With trailblazers like Attorney General Maura Healey, Mayor Annise Parker, and Gina Ortiz Jones leading the way, we are going to win big this November.”


The 19th annual gala will take place on June 25th in New York City.


In 2017, DNC Chair Tom Perez appointed Dr. Marisa Richmond as a DNC at-large member, the first transgender person of color to serve as a member of the DNC. In 2003, Dr. Richmond became the first president of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. She was also appointed to the Nashville Metro Human Relations Commission, the first time a transgender person has been named to a local government board or commission in the history of Tennessee.


The LGBTQ Gala began in 1999 as a small dinner held by Andy Tobias, former DNC Treasurer, and has grown to be one of the DNC’s biggest and most successful events. This annual gala is among the DNC’s marquee events. In 2017, the gala took place at Gotham Hall in New York City, with Joe Biden as the keynote speaker.