COLUMBUS (WCMH) – One night after Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the first openly gay presidential candidate, was in central Ohio for the debate, four openly gay local elected officials were honored. The Victory Institute held it’s ‘Recognizing Our Own’ celebration, night to honor those who are the first openly LGBTQ people to hold their elected positions.
“We are committed to making historic firsts, history,” Annise Parker, President and CEO of the Victory Institute. When she was elected mayor of Houston, she became the first openly LGBTQ mayor of a major American city. On Wednesday she helped recognize some central Ohio firsts.
Shannon Hardin is the first openly LGBTQ person to be Columbus City Council President. Megan Kilgore is the first openly LGBTQ person to be Columbus City Auditor. Sen. Nickie Antonio is the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Ohio senate and was the first elected to the Ohio State House. Mary Jo Hudson is the first openly LGBTQ person to be on the Columbus school board and city council.
“We stand on their shoulders. They did the hard work of breaking those glass ceilings, breaking the door open, which made it possible for folks like Megan and myself to walk through,” said Hardin.
All four of the honorees got to meet with Mayor Pete Buttigieg while he was in central Ohio for the debate.
“I think he does a world of good to advance LGBTQ equality,” said Sen. Antonio.
“He’s not running to be a gay president; he’s running to be the president of the United States. That’s huge for so many folks who are looking up,” said Hardin.
All four also say they now share a similar responsibility in making sure while they were all firsts, they are not last.
“I think all of this is just about plowing the road for the next generations,” said Hudson. “My hope is our next generation of LGBTQ folks and their families all just have even better lives and easier time making it and doing what they want to do.”