In 2011, Zach Wahls, then a 19-year-old University of Iowa student, addressed the Iowa House of Representatives during a public debate on same-sex marriage. His passionate 3-minute speech —where he proudly admitted he was “raised by two women” and spoke about the strength of his family — went viral and thrust him into the national spotlight as an advocate for LGBTQ rights.
Wahls, now 26, announced he is running as a Democratic candidate for Iowa’s 37th State Senate District in 2018. In a statement announcing his candidacy, the Iowa native said he’s throwing his hat in the political ring “for one simple reason.”
“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment that will determine the future of our state for generations to come, and I feel responsible for doing my part,” Wahls said in the statement published Thursday. “Our state has a choice to make. Are we going to let Republicans continue their attacks on healthcare, education, and workers’ rights or are we going to stand and fight for the values that have defined this state for hundreds of years?"
Following his viral 2011 speech, which currently has more than 3 million views on YouTube, Wahls remained an active advocate for LGBTQ rights. In addition to his public speaking and lobbying on behalf of LGBTQ equality, he has published a book about his family, titled "My Two Moms."