“It was election night 2016. I was at a joke ‘end of the world’ theme party – nobody thought Donald Trump would actually win. His victory sealed the deal and pushed me to run.”
Back then, Phillipe Cunningham, a transgender man of colour, was working as a policy advisor in the mayor’s office in Minneapolis in America’s Midwest. Trump’s arrival in the White House was the tipping point that persuaded him to run for election to the city council there in 2017.
In 2018, this increase in representation was described as “a rainbow wave” by pro-LGBT leadership group, the Victory Institute. In a report published in June, it says the number of trans elected officials at state and local level has grown by almost 54% over the past year.
“More diversity in elected leadership is always a good thing, because it adds perspectives from people with different lived experiences. It makes for a more equal system,” Phillipe, 32, tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.
“I have lived my life for 23 years as a black woman and the last nine as a black man – I know what it’s like to be marginalised.”