Could Texas Have its First Openly Gay, Black Legislator? Meet the 3 House Candidates
Venton Jones, Christian Manuel Hayes and Jolanda Jones seek to overturn GOP domination in Texas. The three are black, LGBT Texans running for house seats. If they win, they would become the first Black, LGBT legislators in the state.
For many trans youths in Texas, Governor Abbot’s recent denial of gender-affirming care thwarts hope. In 2021, the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index shed light on the changing environment in the US.
According to the MEI’s findings, laws, services, and policies now cater more to the most vulnerable subgroups of the LGBT community. Nevertheless, legislative attacks on LGBT people, especially trans youths, have taken over the headlines. In Congress, the need to supersede obsolete ideologies has never been more dire. These candidates ride along a shifting tide.
In Houston, Jolanda Jones faces Danielle Keys Bess. Jones was a member of the Houston Independent School District school board of District IV. She sought to improve minority education through an “understanding of the urban student.” Jones would become the first openly black lesbian in the legislature. Affordable housing, voting rights, and domestic violence prevention are among her key issues.
In Beaumont, Joseph Trahan fights to replace Rep. Joe Deshotel. 36-year-old openly gay candidate Christian Hayes stands in his way. Despite the recent opposition toward gender-affirming care for trans youths, Hayes hopes to capitalize on a growing progressive voice in Texas. He also sees Beaumont as not only the provenance, but the destination for ambitious minorities like himself. After graduating, Hayes moved back to his hometown.
“Representation matters,” Hayes, 36, said. “People are starting to understand that we are all the same. We all love people. We all want to be loved.”
In Dallas, Venton Jones aims to beat former Dallas city councilwoman Sarah Crenshaw. Jones is both openly gay and HIV positive. He wants to spread HIV awareness as well as dispel stigma surrounding the illness.
“Being Black, being LGBT and being HIV positive — it is an experience that has taught me so much about the importance of representation, the importance of equity, the importance of everything we’re fighting for,” Jones stated.
His key issues center on public education, crumbling infrastructure and voting rights. These candidates vary in their priorities, but all three desire to end the perverse state of Congress in Texas.