We're Proud of This 18-Year-Old Gay Athlete Who's Running For Office Against a Gross Homophobe in Trump Country

If you could use an inspiring pick-me-up to power through the rest of the week, look no further than Ohio’s Garrett Baldwin. Openly gay, he’s only 18 years old, and he’s already set his sights on taking a chunk out of the Republican foundation of the Ohio House of Representatives.

A big part of Baldwin’s motivation is his dismay in the words and actions of homophobic incumbent Republican Nino Vitale, the current representative of the 85th district, including his sponsorship of a bill designed to undermine marriage equality. 

Baldwin is running against Vitale, in deep Trump country no less. About 70% of the district went for Trump in the 2016 election.

“Around here a lot of people that voted for Trump are fed up with the system,” says Baldwin. “We have an entrenched Republican representative, and that’s what people are fed up with.”

“Vitale believes strictly in one man and one woman having children, that that’s his idea of a family,” Bennett said. “We have multiple LGBT families in the district, and it’s scary that we have a representative furthering those ideas in the statehouse.”

Vitale, 47, wrote House Bill 36, dubbed the Ohio Pastor Protection Act, a discrimination bill permitting religious leaders to refuse performing marriages based on beliefs.

Vitale also, of course, still calls gay people “homosexuals.” Only the ragey-est raging homophobes still do that. Gross.

Baldwin came out at 14. He says in his hometown of 1,500 it was a hot topic back then, but it’s not a big deal anymore.

“They know I’m gay and it’s just not a conversation we have anymore because people know who I am,” he says.

Baldwin is actually something of a moderate. He isn’t for banning assault weapons, and he believes in limitations to abortion rights. This should help his chances in the district, surely.

“When they hear I’m a gay candidate I don’t get a lot of feedback on that because it’s not important,” he says. “They want to know what I stand for and how I’m going to move the district in the direction way they want it to go.”

Baldwin has been a cheerleader for years, and this year he swam on his school’s swimming team. He tells

According to Outsports, he’s wanted to join the military for years, and he’s already joined the Ohio National Guard.

Here’s to Baldwin’s fighting spirit.

h/t: Outsports