News (USA)

Trans candidate in Virginia makes history by winning House primary

Danica Roem
Danica Roem is one step closer to being the first out trans legislator in the country. Photo: Danica Roem, Courtesy

Danica Roem, the first out transgender person to ever run for the Virginia General Assembly, made history last night by pulling off a surprise victory in the Democratic primary for the 13th District.

She bested fellow Democrats Steve Jansen, Andrew Adams, and Mansimran Kahlon, and will now face anti-LGBTQ Republican Bob Marshall in the general election.

If Roem can beat Marshall she could become the first ever trans individual to be elected as a state legislator.

The former journalist and editor decided to enter into politics to lead Virginia on issues of transportation, jobs, education, and equality.

That sets her up in stark contrast with her opponent, Marshall, who put forward an amendment defining marriage in the state Constitution as between one man and one woman. A federal judge later struck it down. Marshall then went about trying to get Attorney General Mark Herring impeached over his support of same-sex marriage.

Marshall was also a proponent of legislation blocking transgender people from using the bathroom matching their gender identity in government-owned buildings.

His anti-LGBTQ record also includes an attempt to give businesses the right to discriminate against “homosexual behavior,” and blocking the nomination of a judge due to the fact that he is openly gay.

“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.

“Danica Roem is a leader in a national movement of trans candidates who are determined to become a voice for their community in the halls of power,” said Victory Fund president and CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills in a press release. “This historic primary win sets up a general election battle where voters will choose between ‘Bigot Bob’ Marshall – the most anti-LGBTQ member of the Virginia state legislature — or Danica, a proud trans woman who is committed to representing all people in her district. I am confident voters will choose leadership over divisiveness and make Danica the first out trans candidate to win and serve in a state legislature.”

The election takes place on November 7.

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