Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres Become the First Openly Gay Black Members of Congress

“The progressive movement and progressive candidates, and soon-to-be-members of Congress like myself, are ascendant.”

Mondaire Jones

Bebeto Matthews/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Mondaire Jones and Ritchie Torres made history Tuesday night as the first two openly gay Black members of Congress. Jones, 33, was elected as the representative to New York’s 17th congressional district, including areas of Rockland and Westchester Counties. Torres, 32, was elected to represent New York’s 15th District, which covers portions of the West and South Bronx. Torres identifies as Afro-Latino.

Both candidates’ historic wins have been anticipated since they won their Democratic primary races last June, riding an insurgent wave of Progressive Democratic candidates. In a conversation with Jamilah King on the Mother Jones Podcast in early September, Mondaire Jones explained that he’s already on group texts with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 

“There’s never been an openly gay Black member of Congress in the 244 year history of the United States, and it was only in the past few years that I began to think that it was possible,” Jones said on the podcast, acknowledging the barriers that his campaign was on the brink of breaking. Jones also addressed the homophobia he experienced as a candidate and talked about the pieces of his personal story that kept him going: “For me, policy is personal. I grew up in section eight housing and on food stamps. It’s not academic for me.”

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate