Florida’s Historic Election of Gay Latino Politician

It’s no secret that the US is quite divided when it comes to political opinions. Being one of the most populated countries in the world, over 300 million fight for their personal political agenda across all democratic platforms.

A War of Two Camps

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Lightspring

While there is a nuance to every idea, nearly all public debates can be parsed out as either liberal or conservative philosophies. Those who hold a more complex viewpoint are forced to subscribe to one of two warring camps.

Drawing Lines

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Michael Warwick

With perhaps too many cooks in the kitchen, many assumptions end up being drawn between legislative leanings and geographic proximity. Certain states, like Vermont and California, are seen as bastions for the Democratic Party.

Conservative Lands

Image Credit: Shutterstock / rarrarorro

Conversely, many southern states are often labeled as Republican. This is largely due to consistent outcomes from states for the presidential elections that take place every 4 years. One such labeled state is Florida.

A First for Florida

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Wisiel

However, a recent shift in Florida voting may start to change how people view the sunshine state. Carlos Guillermo Smith, a staunch queer activist,  has been voted in as the first ever openly queer Latino for the state Senate.

A New Senator Come November

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Cheri Alguire

Smith will officially take over the role starting on November 6th, 2024, after the closing of the state’s general election. Smith, who currently resides in Orlando, filed for an open seat back in 2023.

Facing Adversity

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Jacob Lund

The eager Democrat was expected to face fierce opposition, especially due to his sexual orientation and Democratic Party affiliations. However, the events turned out to be quite the opposite.

No Contest

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Aruta Images

June 14th marked the deadline on application for Florida’s state candidates. When qualifications closed at noon on the date, no other candidates had applied, leaving Smith as the victor by default.

Buzzing With Potential

Image Credit: Shutterstock /Ground Picture

Regardless of technicality, Smith is thrilled to accept the win. “My heart is full of gratitude for this community who has entrusted me with the responsibility of serving as their state senator,” said Smith.

A Better Community

Image Credit: Shutterstock / WBMUL

When asked about his motivations for running, Smith stated “I love the Orlando community, and promise to defend our values, to put people over politics, and to inspire hope for a better, brighter future for a state.”

Fighting for Teachers

Image Credit: Shutterstock / ESB Professional

Smith plans to fight for “A future where families aren’t forced out of their homes or out onto the streets due to soaring rents and property insurance rates; where teachers can earn a living salary; where every student is protected and every family is respected;”.

Clear Stances

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Longfin Media

Many of the issues Smith is advocating for are standard stances set forth by the Democratic Party. Much of his victory speech touched on serving disenfranchised communities, as well as pressing matters like gun violence.

Never Forgotten

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Leonard Zhukovsky

The debate over gun control is a rather sensitive topic within the Florida LGBTQ+ community. This is due to the Pulse Nightclub shooting that occurred back in June of 2016. 

Land of the Free

Image Credit: Pexels / Gabe

Other items on the politicians agenda include ushering in an era where people are allowed to be themselves. He hopes to establish a Florida where queer people can live without being harassed or targeted.

Changes Much Needed

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Salivanchuk Semen

Other issues that Smith plans to address revolve around equal access to healthcare. With clear goals and plenty of hope, this new Senator believes that solving these problems will lead to a “…Florida we deserve and that we are fighting for.”

True Representation

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Xavier Lorenzo

Of course, Smith mentioned how his new appointment speaks to a larger conversation about diversity and inclusion. Being the first openly queer Latino official marks an important milestone for both demographics.

Significant Shift

Image Credit: Shutterstock / cunaplus

“It’s also important to acknowledge and celebrate the significance of our election for Florida’s LGBTQ community, who have been relentlessly attacked and demonized by the majority party in this Legislature over the past few years.” Smith commented.

Not Really the First

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rena Schild

It is critical to recognize these advancements in equality. However, this is not the first time Florida has elected a queer individual into the state Senate. LGBTQ+ representation in this case dates back to 2020.

Trendsetter

Image Credit: Shutterstock / lazyllama

The honor of first queer Senator goes to Shevrin D. Jones. Jones has been politically active in the Florida scene since 2012, but now will share the spotlight with Smith starting in the fall.

No Longer Alone

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff

When asked about his feelings on the matter, Jones commented “I am thrilled that the Florida Senate LGBTQ caucus is no longer a membership of one…what excites me even more is that Carlos is more than a member of the LGBTQ community”.

The post Florida Elects First Openly Queer Latino Politician first appeared on Pulse of Pride.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Cheri Alguire.