Out legislator Julie Johnson is leading a historic change in Texas and the South

Out legislator Julie Johnson is leading a historic change in Texas and the South

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Julie Johnson

Texan Julie Johnson stands to make history this year. She’s running for the US Congress in November. 

Johnson is running as a Democrat for Texas’s 32nd congressional seat. The suburban district includes northeastern Dallas and parts of Collin and Denton counties. The district’s incumbent Representative, Colin Allred, also a Democrat, is not running for re-election. Instead, he’s looking to oust Ted Cruz as Senator. 

If Johnson succeeds — which is likely given Allred won the seat with almost twice as many votes as his Republican rival in 2022 — she will become the first out LGBTQ+ person from a Southern state elected to Congress. 

Fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in Texas and beyond

Before entering politics, Johnson worked as an attorney. She believes passionately in fighting for social justice and helping those who are more vulnerable or who face persecution. It’s a fight she continues at the Texas state house. 

Johnson won election in 2018. In doing so, she vanquished Matt Rinaldi, the extremist Republican author of a notorious anti-trans bathroom bill. Johnson flipped the (115th) district blue for the first time in decades. She comfortably held the seat in 2022 by taking almost 57% of the vote. 

Johnson has consistently stood up for LGBTQ+ rights, which has kept her busy. Every year, Texan Republicans try to pass dozens of pieces of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation.

Beto O’Rourke and Julie Johnson
Beto O’Rourke is one of those to endorse Julie Johnson in 2024 (Photo: Julie Johnson)

A wife and mom

A lesbian herself, Johnson married her wife, Susan Moster, in San Francisco in 2014. They have two sons. When Johnson joined the state house in 2019, her wife also made history. She became the first same-sex spouse admitted into the Legislative Ladies Club. This is a social group for spouses of Texas House members. 

On being the first out-gay, married person elected to the Texas House, Johnson said at the time, “It’s wonderful. I’m really proud to be in the Legislature. I’m proud to show the world that LGBT families are just like them. We get married, we have kids, we celebrate the same losses and tragedies in our lives as everyone else.”

Johnson has pointed to her own marriage to rebuke extremists who still wish to do away with same-sex marriage. In 2021, when a Republican representative tried to prompt the Texan Attorney General to issue a decision on whether Texas citizens had a right not to recognize same-sex marriage, Johnson blasted the move as political theatrics. 

“Republican colleagues don’t think the love my wife and I have is good enough to make a lifetime commitment to each other. Enough is enough! Cut the BS theatrics. You are embarrassing Texas.”

“We’re valued, we’re important and we’re going to be at the table”

If elected to US Congress, Johnson says her priorities will be reinstating reproductive rights, strengthening gun laws, fighting the extremist agenda of MAGA lawmakers, protecting the Affordable Care Act and reducing prescription drug prices. She also wants to fight to get the Equality Act passed. 

Johnson is aware of the significance of victory come November, as an out LGBTQ+ candidate. 

“Texas, in particular, is the bulls-eye in this country of hate against the LGBTQ community. It’s like every Republican member has to have their little chip, ‘Oh yeah, I have my own bill’ to target us. And what this says, is it’s a statement from the people of Texas, that no, the LGBTQ community, we’re valued, we’re important and we’re going to be at the table.”

On her desire to see the Equality Act passed, she says, “The LGBTQ community, we’ve been targetted, we’re unfairly discriminated against just for the sole reason of who we love. And it’s unacceptable.”

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