Every day during the month of June, we will be spotlighting our 2022 Logo30. This powerful series profiles ordinary and extraordinary people who show pride in unique and provocative ways. Visit the Logo30 homepage to view current and past honorees.
By Sam Manzella
Everything Florida state Rep. Michele Rayner does is imbued with Pride.
Rayner made history in October 2020 when she became the first openly queer woman of color elected to the Sunshine State’s House of Representatives. The out attorney and born-and-raised Floridian successfully campaigned to represent House District 70 on a progressive political platform of community-focused initiatives. Her victory as a loud-and-proud lesbian is no small feat in a legislative body like Florida’s, which made headlines nationwide after passing the now-infamous “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” bill in March.
“I serve in a legislature that is very hostile to LGBTQ people,” Rayner tells Logo. “Being able to stand up and speak truth to power in the face of people who I know don't value me or my community has made me the proudest of myself I've ever been.”
Since assuming office in 2021, she’s stayed true to her promises, working to ensure her constituents have access to vital resources like food and COVID-19 vaccinations.
Rayner initially planned to run for a Congressional seat in 2022, but she withdrew herself from the race last month. She hopes to someday soon become “the first Black queer woman in Congress,” a glass ceiling she feels more than ready to shatter.
For now, though, Rayner remains focused on engaging her community more directly. She is currently up for re-election in nearby House District 62 in a campaign already backed by the LGBTQ Victory Fund.
“I'm in a room that other people may not be able to be in,” Rayner says, “and I'm going to say the thing and do the thing.”
Learn more about Rayner and the rest of our incredible 2022 Logo30 honorees in the video below.