Sharice Davids, an out lesbian and Native American woman, has won a Congressional primary in deep-red Kansas, furthering a campaign that has the potential to make both state and federal history.
On Tuesday, the 38-year-old attorney, former White House fellow under President Barack Obama, and ex-MMA fighter won the Democratic primary for the state’s 3rd Congressional District. She’ll now face off against Republican incumbent Kevin Yoder, who’s represented the district since 2011.
Too many people have the odds stacked against them. I know what that's like. I’m running for Congress b/c everyone deserves an opportunity – and that starts with affordable healthcare, safe communities & quality education.
— Sharice Davids (@sharicedavids) July 25, 2018
A win for Davids would be doubly historic: She’d become Kansas’ first openly gay representative and the country’s first Native American woman to serve in Congress.
In a video interview for the web series Wassaja, Davids and fellow Native American Congressional hopeful Debra Haaland opened up about the lack of Native representation in government.
“I keep saying how surprised I am that we’re in 2018, and we’re still having all these firsts,” she said, referencing the twofold firsts her victory could bring.
Kansas’ LGBTQ community faces some ongoing obstacles, including anti-gay legislation, homophobic attitudes, and outright violence. In May, Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer signed a bill into law that will allow adoption agencies to deny same-sex couples on the basis of their sexuality. That came less than a month after threatening letters forced a gay school teacher in Seneca to resign and flee his town. And in January 2017, a Kansas City queer couple was targeted in a terrifying homophobic attack.