Virginia democrats have nominated the first transgender candidate for the state’s House of Delegates, who is now poised to square off against her district’s anti-trans incumbent this November.
Danica Roem, a 32-year-old former journalist and lifelong Virginian, made history Tuesday by winning a heavily contested democratic primary in Virginia’s 13th district, an area that has been represented by Delegate Bob Marshall since 1992.
Marshall has spent his 25 years in the Virginia General Assembly pushing a conservative Christian agenda, which has seen the lawmaker support measures to ban LGBT people from the state’s National Guard, require women seeking to have abortions to undergo invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound procedures and, most recently, restrict transgender people’s access to public bathrooms.
For her part, Roem is running on a platform that she believes addresses the actual concerns of her potential constituents, including fixing busy commuter roads, bringing high-paying jobs to the district, raising teacher pay, expanding healthcare coverage and defending LGBT rights.
“His own party doesn’t take him seriously,” Roem told Rewire. “Del. Marshall’s legislative priorities are more concerned with where I go to the bathroom.”
In the months leading up to the election, Roem’s campaign will continue to focus on the practical needs of all Virginians, as opposed to Marshall’s pursuit of social privilege for a few.
“People are tired of the fact he is focused on discriminatory social policies instead of bread-and-butter, quality-of-life issues they face every day,” she told The Washington Post. “He is more concerned with where I go to the bathroom than where his constituents go to work. I’m running a race on improving transportation rather than ensuring discrimination.”
The 32-year-old writer believes it’s this dedication to improving the lives of all that will push voters to support her come November.
“Let me make this really clear for you: When the people of the 13th District elect a transgender woman to replace the most anti-LGBT legislator in the South, it will be an act of certainty, and it will be a defining moment that will resonate across the country,” Roem said last month at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund brunch.
To help support Roem’s campaign, donate here.