Transgender candidate Lisa Middleton makes history in California

Palm Springs City Council candidate Lisa Middleton made history Tuesday night as the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California, according to unofficial election results. Photo: Lisa Middleton campaign.

PALM SPRINGS – Palm Springs City Council candidate Lisa Middleton made history Tuesday night as the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California, according to unofficial election results.

Additionally, attorney Christy Holstege, who identifies as bisexual, took the second open council seat and will become another LGBTQ voice on the council, according to unofficial results from the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.

“In light of the repeated attacks on transgender people from the federal government, tonight’s wins by Lisa Middleton in Palm Springs and other transgender candidates in Minneapolis and Virginia are a beacon of hope that voters have embraced values of equality and inclusion,” Rick Zbur, executive director of Equality California, said in a statement. “Lisa is paving the way for others to follow in her footsteps in California and across the nation.

“Her first place finish out of a field of 6 candidates demonstrates that a glass ceiling for transgender people who want to serve in elected office was not only broken, but was shattered in Palm Springs,” Zbur said.

With the election of Middleton and Holstege, the five-member city council will be 100 percent LGBTQ.

Middleton and Holstege were among a field of six candidates vying for two open seats because longtime council members Chris Mills and Ginny Foat didn’t seek re-election.

Henry Hampton, who was in third place, conceded Tuesday night.

More than 3,500 vote-by-mail, provisional, and damaged ballots still need to be counted, according to the registrar’s website.

The election results will be certified by the end of the month when the new council members will be sworn into office.

Attorney Christy Holstege, who identifies as bisexual, was elected to the Palm Springs City Council Tuesday night and will become another LGBTQ voice on the council. Photo: Christy Holstege campaign.

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Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBT community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBT students.