Culture

Bronx Native Ritchie Torres Becomes First Gay Afro-Latino Elected To Congress

Lead Photo: Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Art by Stephany Torres for Remezcla.
Read more

Democrat and New York City council member Ritchie Torres is on his way to the United States House of Representatives. The Bronx native will represent NYC’s 15th congressional district after defeating Republican and former professor Patrick Delices Tuesday night (Nov. 3).

Along with representing his fellow New Yorkers in his new position, Torres will also be representing the LGBTQ community. With his win, he becomes the first openly gay Afro-Latino ever elected to Congress.

“A wise person once said: if you don’t have a seat at the table, then you’re probably on the menu,” Torres tweeted yesterday.

Torres added that along with Mondaire Jones, who won NY’s seat in the 17th congressional district, “LGBTQ people of color will have a seat at one of the most powerful tables: the United States Congress.” Jones joins Torres as the first two gay Black members of Congress.
Congratulations have been pouring in across the country for Torres’ victory, including online from LGBTQ organizations like GLAAD and the LGBTQ Victory Fund, who called him a “game-changer candidate” on social media.

Since taking office as a councilmember in 2013, Torres, who is Puerto Rican on his father’s side, has been advocating for improving NYC’s public housing system for low-income residents, helping gig workers keep their tips, gun-violence prevention, and LGTBQ rights. According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, history was made this year with a record 26 openly gay candidates running for seats in the House and Senate.

“The voters of the South Bronx have given me the honor of representing the next generation of leadership, not only in the South Bronx but throughout the country,” Torres told WPIX-TV in New York the morning after his win. “The leaders we’re electing are every bit as diverse as the country itself.”