The number of LGBTQ in Texas is growing, according to Outsmart magazine. According to the publication, there are 49 candidates running for office in the state. The Texas Tribune also reported on the growing number, and the bathroom bill last session, may have contributed to the trend.
Mark Phariss, is one of the candidates on the ballot. He is running for State Senate District 8. Phariss challenged the gay marriage ban in Texas, but he never expected to make this decision.
“I’d never thought I’d ever run for public office ever,” Phariss said.
He tells NBC 5 that the last legislative session played a role in his decision.
“They were spending too much time on all the wrong issues like a bathroom bill that I thought targeted some of the most vulnerable in our community,” he added.
Phariss is one of several openly gay candidates in North Texas. Sheriff Lupe Valdez, and Dallas businessman Jeffrey Payne are running for governor. Most of the candidates running are democrats.
The Secretary of the board of Log Cabin republicans, which represents gay conservatives and their allies, tells us there are two openly gay republicans on the ballot. Steve Rudner, the Chair of the board of Equality Texas, believes members of the LGBTQ community found their voice during the last legislative session, during the fight over a bathroom bill.
“I think it involved a lot of people in the political process that had not otherwise not been involved,” said Rudner.
He believes that some of the LGBTQ democrats running have a good shot in a state that votes Republican.
“Because most of the candidates that are running are running in local areas that are blue, I think a lot of them have a very good chance, yes," he added.