Mass. LGBTQ Community Celebrates Historic Healey Victory
Massachusetts’ LGBTQ community is celebrating the election of Maura Healey as the nation’s first openly lesbian governor.
Healey acknowledged the moment during his victory party on Tuesday night at the Fairmont Copley Plaza in Boston.
“I want to say something to every little girl and every young LGBTQ person,” she said, before being drowned out in applause. “I hope tonight shows you that you can be anything, whoever you want to be.”
Arline Isaacson, co-chair of the Massachusetts GLBTQ Political Caucus, said she remembers how difficult it was to pass a gay and lesbian civil rights bill in the state three decades ago. .
“There were lawmakers on the floor of the state senate who actually called us [expletive] and lesbians in the middle of the debate,” she recalls.
“So you juxtapose that with the fact that we just elected a proud, proud lesbian — that’s as yin and yang as it gets,” Isaacson added.
Grace Sterling Stowell has been executive director of the Boston Alliance of LGBTQ+ Youth since the 1980s. She said Healey’s victory is the result of decades of organizing.
“At the time, we were trying to survive and get basic legal protections, basic support, basic services,” she said. “Something like a lesbian governor of Massachusetts – it was unimaginable.”
And Healey may have company: Oregon gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek, also a lesbian out, held a narrow lead Wednesday in an as yet undeclared race.
Despite these milestones, Isaacson of the GLBTQ political caucus said community members still feel vulnerable.
She pointed to a Florida law that prohibits classroom teaching about sexual orientation, as well as efforts in several states to restrict hormone therapy and other procedures for transgender minors.
“We’ve made tremendous progress – and Maura is a perfect example of that,” Isaacson said. “But the thing is, it’s not over until it’s over.”
Healey will be sworn in as governor in January. In her new role, Healey says she will work to protect the rights of others in the LGBTQ community.