#Pride50: Sharice Davids — Trailblazing lawmaker

By Tim Fitzsimons

When Sharice Davids first splashed onto the national political scene, it was in a slickly produced campaign video that introduced her to Kansas voters as a steely-nerved mixed martial arts fighter: “This is a tough place to be a woman.”

Trailblazing women candidates like Davids helped turn 2018 into the year of the woman — and powered the Rainbow Wave.

Sharice DavidsTom Williams / CQ Roll Call

Davids is the first openly gay native American woman elected to Congress, and the first LGBTQ person Kansas has ever elected to federal office.

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Davids is a member of the Wisconsin-based Ho-Chunk Nation and has lived and worked on Native American reservations. A resident of the Kansas City area, she attended Johnson County Community College and Cornell Law School before serving as a White House fellow during the end of the Obama administration.

“I remember religiously watching Ellen DeGeneres’ show when I was growing up,” Davids told NBC News. “When Ellen came out on national television, it was the first time I’d ever seen an LGBT woman represented in such a prominent way.”

Davids says that for her, “The Stonewall uprising was a day when brave individuals took to the streets to fight back against harassment and hate, and by doing so, helped to push the long history of LGBTQ activism into a nationwide movement.”

And for Davids, an out lesbian, pride means “celebrating and supporting the full spectrum of LGBTQ and two-spirit community, while also reaffirming our commitment to the fight for equality.”