A List of Out LGBTQ Elected Officials in Pennsylvania: Historical Work in Progress

When I began blogging in 2005, there were no out elected officials in Pennsylvania (that I knew of.) Now there are so many that keeping track is a challenge. Hence, this list and timeline. When I am unsure of someone’s identity, I use LGBTQ.

I urge you to contact me if you have corrections, edits, or updates. Note that I use the year of election, not when they assumed office. I may not get it right in every case because that’s a little confusing, so I’d appreciate any corrections.

1992 – Jim McGill is the first out gay man elected to the Wilkinsburg Borough Council, first out gay person elected to office in Western Pennsylvania, perhaps the entire Commonwealth.

2005 – Ann Butchart was the first out LGBTQ person to be elected in Pennsylvania when she won her race for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.

2007 – Bruce Kraus was the first out gay man to be elected to the Pittsburgh City Council.

2011 – Brian Sims was the first out LGBTQ person to be elected to the General Assembly. He assumed office in 2012 and served through 2022.

2011 – Hugh McGough was the first out gay man elected as judge for the Allegheny County Magisterial District Court

2012 – Mike Fleck was the first out LGBTQ person to serve in the General Assembly (also first out Republican LGBTQ person)

2014 – Jim Ferlo came out the same year he retired from his State Senate seat. So he was the first out gay man or LGBTQ person to serve in the PA Senate, but he did not run a campaign as an out LGBTQ person.

2015 – Bob Langley was the first openly gay man to serve on Meadville City Council. Bob was appointed to serve an expired term.

2015 – Dr. Rachel Levine is the first out transgender woman to be nominated as Pennsylvania Physician General.

2015 – Hugh McGough is the first out gay man elected to serve on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

2016 – Sean Strub is first out queer man elected as Mayor of Milford.

2017 – Governor Wolf appointed Dr. Levine as Secretary of Health. In 2021, she was confirmed as assistant secretary for health in the Biden Administration. Later that year, she was commissioned as a four-star admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, becoming the first openly transgender four-star officer in any of the United States uniformed services. She is also the first female four-star admiral in the commissioned corps

2017 – Tyler Titus was elected to the Erie School Board and became the first openly transgender person elected to public office in Pennsylvania.

2017 – Abigail Salisbury is the first out LGBTQ person elected to Swissvale Borough Council. In 2020, she was elected council president.

2018 – Malcolm Kenyatta is the first out LGBTQ person of color and the first Black LGBTQ person to be elected to the General Assembly.

2018 – Ismail Smith-Wade-El is the first bisexual non-binary Black/African-American/Afro-Caribbean to be elected to Lancaster City Council.

2019 – Jessica Semler is the first out bisexual/queer woman to be elected to Etna Borough Council.

2019 – Anthony Saba is the first out gay Arab-American man to be elected to Crafton Borough Council.

2019 – Edward Alo, alongside husband Anthony Saba, is the first out gay white man to be elected to Crafton Borough Council

2020 – Jessica Benham is the first out bisexual (and autistic) woman elected to serve in the General Assembly as well as the first out LGBTQ or queer person elected to General Assembly from Western Pennsylvania

2020 – Jonathan Warnock is the first out gay man elected to serve on the Indiana Borough Council

2020 – Ian Petrulli is the first out gay man elected to serve in the Wilkinsburg Borough Council.

2021 – Tiffany Sizemore is the out Black bisexual woman elected to serve on the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas.

2021 – Xander Orenstein is the out first bisexual non-binary individual elected to Allegheny County Magisterial District Court.

2021- Lisa Pietrusza – first out non binary councilperson in Mt. Oliver borough

2022 – La’Tasha Mayes is presumed to be the first out lesbian lawmaker on the state level from Western PA and the first out Black lesbian and out Black LGBTQ person from Western PA.

2022 – Sarah Ishman is one of the first out LGBTQ person and Carrie Tongarm is the first multiracial lesbian elected to Sharpsburg Borough Council

2022 – Maria Montaño is the first out Latina trans woman appointed to serve in a Mayoral Administration for the City of Pittsburgh.


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