4 LGBTQ+ leaders on identity and the power of diversity in politics


When former New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres decided to run for New York’s 15th Congressional District seat in the 2020 election, he knew he would be faced with uncertainty.

The then 32-year-old was running against longtime New York politician Ruben Diaz, Sr. in the Democratic primary.

“There was skepticism that a young gay man could win in the South Bronx,” he tells CNBC Make It. “And there was skepticism that I, in particular, could defeat the leading candidate in the race, Ruben Diaz, Sr.” Torres points out that in 2011, Diaz was the only Democrat to vote against marriage equality in the New York State Senate.

“Against all odds,” Torres says, he won that race and also won the general election race and became the first openly gay Afro-Latino to be elected to Congress.

“Who would have thought that the first openly LGBTQ congressman from New York City would come not from Chelsea, or the Village, or Hell’s Kitchen. But from the South Bronx, the…

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