They grew up poor in single-parent households, 31 miles apart, both spending years grappling with their identities.
Raised in the Baptist church, Mr. Jones believed that if he acted upon his feelings, he might go to hell.
That will change in January, when Mr. Torres and Mr. Jones become the first openly gay Black members in the two houses of Congress, population 535.
(Torres identifies as both Black and Latino and will also be the first openly gay Latino member of Congress.)
Their triumph in two Democratic New York districts suggests that America is becoming more willing to elect gay representatives, and that those representatives need not be white men.