Taylor was born and raised in Washington, D.C., where he attended D.C. Public Schools, graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School. Rashad was the first high school student ever selected for an internship via the Congressional Black Caucus College Internship Program; he interned in the office of Rep. John Lewis (D–Georgia) before moving to Atlanta where he attended college. He moved to Atlanta to attend Morehouse College, where as a student, he led a living wage campaign for the school's janitors. Taylor led a two-year battle that ended in a salary increase for janitors. That same year, Taylor helped found Atlanta Jobs with Justice. Taylor also worked as a Finance Assistant for US Senator Max Cleland.
He subsequently worked as a political consultant and campaign manager, managing the successful campaigns of Alisha Thomas Morgan, elected to the Georgia House in 2002, and Khaatim S. El, elected to the Atlanta Board of Education in 2003. Morgan and El were the youngest members to serve in their respective legislative bodies. From 2003 - 2006, Taylor successfully managed several successful campaigns in metro Atlanta for sheriff, Superior Court, Georgia House, Georgia Senate, city council, and county commission. In 2006, Rashad became a lobbyist and legislative coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Georgia. That year, Taylor worked with other progressive lobbyists to defeat a last-minute attempt by Republicans to ban adoptions by same-sex couples. In May 2006, Rashad Taylor was named one of ten Democratic “Rising Stars” in national politics by Campaigns and Elections Magazine. In June 2007, Taylor was appointed political director of the Democratic Party of Georgia, a position he held until joining the Legislature in January 2009.
Most recently, in 2009, Rep. Taylor served as deputy campaign manager for Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s successful mayoral campaign and served on Mayor Reed’s transition team. As deputy campaign manager, Taylor oversaw the political, field, and policy/communications operations of the campaign. And in 2010, Taylor managed the successful re-election campaign of Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves. Rep. Taylor has served on the Board of Directors of NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia, the Youth Task Force, and the Joseph Whitehead YMCA. Taylor currently serves on the Board of Directors of The Kindezi School. Taylor is a 2011 graduate of LEAD Atlanta.
In 2008, state representative Mable Thomas decided against seeking re-election, choosing instead to mount an unsuccessful primary challenge to John Lewis in the 5th congressional district. Her decision created an open seat in the Georgia House, which attracted two candidates, both Democrats, one of whom was Taylor. In the primary election held on July 15, 2008, Taylor earned 62.8% of the vote and won the Democratic nomination. He faced no opposition in the general election and took office on January 12, 2009.
He ran for re-election in 2010, facing a primary challenge from Mable Thomas, his predecessor in office. In the Democratic primary election held on July 20, 2010, Taylor won 56.1%, winning by a margin of 349 votes. Once again, he won the general election unopposed. His current term expires in January 2013; he will have to run in 2012 to hold onto the seat.
During his first term, Rep. Taylor served on the Education, MARTA Oversight (MARTOC), and Ways and Means Committees, powerful appointments for a freshman legislator. He was appointed Chairman of the MARTOC Subcommittee on Infrastructure and Maintenance, the only minority caucus freshman to hold a subcommittee chairmanship. Taylor was also appointed Deputy Minority Whip by the House Democratic Leader and Whip.
After re-election in 2010, Taylor was elected Vice Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, handily defeating three other colleagues without a run-off election. Taylor was also appointed Chairman of the Atlanta-Fulton Legislative Delegation Subcommittee on Housing and Economic Development. Taylor successfully sponsored legislation for the City of Atlanta to extend its hotel/motel tax to help fund the construction of a new Georgia Dome.
An African American, Taylor lives in the Historic West End neighborhood of Atlanta and is an active member of Destiny World Church in Austell.
On May 27, 2011, Taylor came out as a gay man following the circulation of an e-mail which accused Taylor of being gay and of using his official position to solicit sexual relationships. Taylor's accuser later admitted he had no proof to his allegations against Taylor. He was one of four openly LGBT members of the Georgia General Assembly, alongside Reps. Karla Drenner (D–Avondale Estates), Simone Bell (D–Atlanta), and Keisha Waites (D–Atlanta). Taylor was the first openly gay male to serve in the Georgia General Assembly and was only the second openly gay African American male state legislator in the United States.