Virginia just elected its first openly transgender person to state legislature
Yesterday local elections were held all over the country, and Virginia elected its first openly transgender candidate to be seated in a state legislature. The candidate, Democrat Danica Roem, dethroned conservative Republican Robert G. Marshall, who, according to The Washington Post, once called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe.”
Roem, 33, decided to run to fix infrastructure issues in Virginia’s Prince William County — a traffic problem on Route 28 being the big one. Pro-Trump Marshall had been seated in Virginia’s House of Delegates for 26 years.
But the election between Roem and Marshall was so much more important than any traffic issue. We saw history being made when Roem, who began her transition four years ago, beat Marshall for the 13th District seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates by about 2,000 votes.
Marshall supposedly refused to debate Roem and consistently used male pronouns when referring to his transgender opponent. Marshall, as you may remember, was the official who introduced the Virginia “bathroom bill” that was eventually shot down in committee.
During the race, Marshall’s team also released an ad attacking Roem for her transgender identity and the Virginia Republican party passed out fliers “warning” voters of her, and claiming that she “wanted transgenderism taught to kindergartners.” This came in response to Roem stating during an interview that she would like to see LGBTQ matters brought up in school “in an age-appropriate manner.”
The scare tactics didn’t work, and Roem will now be the first openly transgender official in a U.S. state legislature seat.
New Hampshire elected a transgender official in 2012, but the candidate never took office. Similarly, Massachusetts elected a transgender person to serve in state legislature in the 1990s, but the official was not openly transgender while campaigning.
"Discrimination is a disqualifier," TheWashingtonPost.com reports Roem saying Tuesday evening when she realized her victory was imminent. "This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias...where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it."
At the end of the night, Roem joined her supporters in a local Prince William County pub. She stood on a table and dedicated her win “to every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever been stigmatized, who’s ever been the misfit, who’s ever been the kid in the corner, who’s ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own. This one is for you.”
And Roem isn’t going to let her newfound national fame distract her from the tasks at hand. Her first order of business is to fix Route 28 like she promised voters she would. That’s why she entered the race in the first place — “because I’m fed up with the frickin’ road over in my home town,” Roem stated.
We are so thrilled for this win, and for getting to witness history in the making.