Tuesday was an off-year Election Day, but history was still made as Democrat Danica Roem won her seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming the first transgender American to serve in a state legislature.
Roem defeated Republican Bob Marshall 54 to 45—a victory made all the more sweet given Marshall’s homophobic and transphobic agenda: The author of Virginia’s marriage-equality ban, he demanded Attorney General Mark Herring be impeached for supporting “sodomy marriage” and authored a North Carolina-style bathroom bill.
A 13-term Virginia Delegate, Marshall refused to debate Roem during the campaign and repeatedly (and intentionally) misgendered her: “Why do you call Danica a female?” he asked a reporter in August. “Did Danica’s DNA change?”
Asked about Marshall after the election, Roem reportedly said, “I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
When asked about Bob Marshall, Danica Roem said “I don't attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
— Nicholas Trevino (@BlyTarbell) November 8, 2017
In a joint statement, Virginia House Democratic caucus leader David J. Toscano and caucus chairwoman Charniele Herring said Roem “will bring a reporter’s eye to Richmond, and we eagerly anticipate her results-oriented approach to deliver for her constituent.”
During the campaign, Roem focused on jobs, infrastructure, and other bread-and-butter issues. But she never shied away from embracing her identity. (While campaigning door-to-door, Roem would often wear a rainbow headscarf.)
“We made history tonight,” she declared at newly-elected Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s victory party. “We won because I am a transgender woman… because of my inherent identifiers not despite them. I never ran away from them. I championed them.”
In California, Lisa Middleton became the first transgender person in California elected to a non-judicial office, winning a seat on the Palm Springs City Council. Another trans candidate, Andrea Jenkins, claimed victory in the Minneapolis City Council race.