Mckayla Wilkes came out as bisexual on Thursday, while announcing that she is running for the seat representing Maryland’s 5th district in 2022, one of the most powerful seats in the Democratic House of Representatives. She is challenging House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, aged 81 who has served since 1981 and has been House Majority leader since 2019. This is her second try at campaigning for the seat, her first being her run for the seat in the 2020 election. She lost 26.7 to Hoyer’s 64.4, coming in second.
She declared her candidacy on Tuesday. She said in the statement “I’m running unreserved as the person I’ve always been; a black, queer, working mother of two who will never give up on fighting for what we deserve. It’s time for some…change.”
Wilkes has always been a vocal supporter of the LGBTQ community, which she mentions in an interview with LGBTQ Nation.
“I remember being asked, as an ally of the community, what could you do…and in my head, I’m like, I’m part of that community.”
These interactions, along with her second time running for the House Majority Leader Seat, made her realize it was vital to be open about her sexuality this time around.
“It’s essential for me personally to be able to live 100% in my truth, but I also hope to have a broader conversation around heteronormativity”
Wilkes has never shied away to being open about the struggles she’s faced in her life, sharing her incarceration for driving with a suspended license at 24 because she couldn’t pay her parking tickets, being arrested at nineteen for marijuana possession, and having an abortion at nineteen.
Throughout all this, people would assume her sexuality as straight, which she took with frustration, although she shares with LGBTQ Nation that it was a conscious decision to not share that part of her life yet.
“I purposefully did not want to come out. [I was] afraid of what people would say, and the stigma.”
She went on to express the hope that her coming out will inspire others be kinder to themselves in terms of their own sexuality.
“I don’t want anyone to feel like that, so I can empower one person or ten people or a hundred people, I feel like that would be something good.”