NewsDecision 2022

Actions

Voters elect Kentucky's first-ever openly transgender public official

Tezza-4090.jpg
Posted at 7:05 AM, Nov 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-10 07:05:27-05

(LEX 18) — Each election cycle, more members of the LGBTQ community are elected to public office across the country. Rebecca Blankenship of Berea is joining that growing list, with a win that's a first of its kind in Kentucky.

Berea voters elected Blankenship to the Berea Independent School Board Tuesday as a write-in candidate. She's the first-ever openly transgender person elected to public office in Kentucky.

"I really hope this moment in time is one of hope for others," the 29-year-old mom of seven told LEX 18.

Four of her children currently attend Berea schools. Blankenship said she decided to run for the school board after she realized only two candidates had filed to run for three empty positions. She received 55 write-in votes in the election.

The significance of this historic moment is not lost on her, but Blankenship says she's eager to get to work.

"I'm excited to do good things for my kids' school," she said. "I'm excited that we get to do things like make sure teachers get pay raises, that we get to do things like make sure communication and transparency are prioritized, and that we get to invest in vocational education."

Blankenship said so far, reaction from the community has been overwhelmingly positive. LGBTQ advocates are also praising her election.

Chris Hartman, the executive director of the Fairness Campaign, told Queer Kentucky, "This is a moment to remember."

Blankenship says she feels the same way and hopes to inspire young children just like her.

"Those kids can now say, we have a brighter future," she said. "We can do that, if we wanna do it."

Blankenship is the executive director at Ban Conversion Therapy Kentucky, which works to end the practice for LGBTQ children.