This week we asked Gay Politics Report readers who they thought was the first openly LGBT candidate ever elected to public office in the U.S. (Poll results here.)
The five choices included the first five openly gay and lesbian candidates to win office anywhere in the country. Readers were asked to pick who they thought was first from among Harvey Milk, Elaine Noble, Kathy Kozachenko, Allan Spear and Jim Yeadon. Almost 1,200 readers responded.
Here's the answer to the question:
- About 42 percent chose Harvey Milk, who won a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in late 1977. He's certainly the most famous of the early LGBT elected officials, but Milk actually comes in at No. 5 out of the five on this list.
- The fourth person elected as openly gay was Jim Yeadon, who won a seat on the Madison, Wisconsin City Council in October of 1976.
- Allan Spear was reelected to Minnesota State Senate in November of 1976 after coming out in office in 1974, making him the third openly gay candidate to win office in the U.S.
- Elaine Noble won a closely-watched race for a seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in November of 1974. She was just the second openly LGBT person ever elected to public office in America. 21 percent of readers thought she was the first.
- And only 10 percent got the question right, choosing Kathy Kozachenko, who won a seat on the Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council in January of 1974, making her the first out LGBT candidate to be elected in the U.S.
Today more than 500 openly LGBT elected officials are serving at all levels of government. Find out who's out and serving in public office in your area here.