Up and down ballots from coast to coast, more trans candidates are running than ever before. Reuters estimates that more than 40 transgender candidates are in races across the country.
California transgender candidate Ashlee Marie Preston has ended her election bid for the state assembly. Preston, who publicly challenged Trump supporter Caitlyn Jenner as a fraud at an August event in Los Angeles, withdrew her bid for California State Assembly on Friday. She cited a lack of time for her unconventional candidacy.
But meanwhile, in New York, two transgender candidates are running for state assembly.
Melissa Sklarz, the first transgender person to hold elected office in New York, has filed to run in the Democratic primary for state assembly. Sklarz was elected in 1999 as a judicial delegate to her assembly district. She said her assembly campaign would focus on local issues, transportation and women’s rights.
“It’s very, very important that local municipalities and the states step up so that women’s reproductive health is protected, she said to the news site City & State.
Also running in New York is activist Andrea Marra. She’s challenging an incumbent Democrat in the state senate. If she wins, she’d be the first Asian-American and first transgender elected to that body.
“We need new, honest leadership to protect and expand affordable housing, modernize the broken MTA, deliver the funding our schools need and deserve, and invest in New York’s overburdened hospitals,” she said.
Among the recent high-profile winning candidacies was Danica Roem, in the Virginia House of Delegates, who became the first transgender person elected to a statewide office. So far, there are two transgender congressional candidates in 2018 — Chelsea Manning, running for U.S. Senate in Maryland, and Alexandra Chandler, running for the U.S. House in Massachusetts.
Elected down ballot in 2017 were a number of transgender candidates —
Danica Roem, Virginia House of Delegates
first openly transgender candidate to win a state race
Andrea Jenkins & Phillipe Cunningham
Minneapolis City Council
Palm Springs (Calif.) City Council
Doraville (Ga.) City Council
Stamford (Conn.) Board of Representatives
Eric (Pa.) school board
Somersworth (N.H.) school board
Maryland physician Dana Beyer is running for state senate this year after running in 2006 and 2010. This time, the transgender candidate has secured the endorsement of the local Service Employees International Union, the largest union in Montgomery County.
After the November election, Beyer told the Washington Blade that acceptance is increasing.
“We’ve created enough acceptance over the past 15 years in both America, in general, and within the Democratic Party, in particular, that being trans (or any of the other smaller minorities, such as Sikh) is no longer a liability,” Beyer said, “but may actually be an asset.”