Katie Hill elected first LGBTQ Congresswoman from California

Republican Rep. Steve Knight conceded Wednesday to Democratic challenger Katie Hill, a 31-year-old bisexual woman, as votes are still being counted in the race to represent represent California’s 25th District in the House of Representatives.

Hill garnered 51 percent of the vote compared to Knight’s 49 percent, according to results on Ballotpedia. More than 163,000 votes were cast, and Hill beat Knight, 51, by more than 4,000 votes.

Provisional and vote-by-mail ballots still need to be counted. Results should be updated Friday.

Hill is the first LGBTQ California woman elected to Congress and the first self-identified bisexual woman in the House of Representatives. 

The 25th Congressional District is the only one in Los Angeles County that’s represented by a Republican. It covers the northern portion of the county and part of Ventura County, including Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Palmdale, Lancaster, and the northern part of the San Fernando Valley.

Knight, an anti-equality incumbent who was elected in 2014, doesn’t fall far from the anti-LGBTQ tree. His late father is Pete Knight, the infamous California state senator who wrote the ban on same-sex marriage known as the Knight Initiative, that voters passed in 2000. The state Supreme Court struck it down in 2008, although same-sex marriage was banned again by the constitutional amendment Prop. 8, which was finally struck down in 2013.

Hill’s win follows other LGBTQ victories in Tuesday’s election. Jared Polis became the first gay man elected governor in the United States, and Sharice Davids became the first lesbian Native American woman elected to Congress.

Hill, a former executive director of PATH, a Los Angeles nonprofit that provides services to the homeless, has never before held public office.

Her priorities include expanding health care, rebuilding the middle class, making sure government represents all the people, including LGBTQ people.

“Having true equality is just something that I think should be a given,” Hill said, according to the Advocate.

As a bisexual woman married to a man, Hill faced some pressure to be closeted and experienced biphobia, she said.

Being out “was a huge decision early on,” she told the publication. Many people urged her to hide her bi identity, but, she said, “I’ve been out as being bi since I was a teenager, right after high school.”

Hill was out to be “an honest, transparent politician.”

Phillip Zonkel can be reached at [email protected] or 562-294-5996.

About the author

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 LGBTQ 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 LGBTQ students.

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