America’s first transgender state lawmaker turned a hateful message she received into a fundraising opportunity and the internet is rallying behind her, donating thousands in the first few minutes.
A troll going by “Joe” sent Virginia Delegate Danica Roem (D) a transphobic message on Twitter, and it backfired terribly.
“No such thing as trans gender,” wrote Joe. “Only delusional people with mental disorders.”
These sorts of messages – short and mean with spelling and grammar errors – are common for transgender people who get any prominence online and Roem has undoubtedly received messages like Joe’s before.
But this time, she didn’t just delete it and move on. She wrote Joe a polite response and thanked him.
“Dear Joe,” Roem wrote. “Thank you so much for your message – not for the message itself but for your decision to send it to me because I’m going to screenshot our conversation thread here, post it to my Twitter page and use it to raise money for my re-election campaign.”
“I would tell you to feel free to contribute too but, really, in so many ways, you already have,” she concluded.
She posted a screenshot with a link to donate to her campaign.
She tweeted the link and the screenshot at 9:03 on Wednesday, June 16. In less than two hours, she had already raised over $2129 from Joe’s message.
— Del. Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) June 17, 2021
She also got messages of support on Twitter.
Please donate to this amazing VA representative 🏳️🌈 https://t.co/Mnw1kWm6Jh
— Emi (@Emisela) June 17, 2021
— Leslie Rubino (she/her) (@LesRubino) June 17, 2021
— Whitney Zatzkin (@MsWZ) June 17, 2021
In 2017, Roem became the first out transgender person to be elected to and serve in a state legislature after she ran what was called a “smart, issues-driven campaign focused on improving the lives of her neighbors.”
She’s still focusing on local issues her constituents care about; her campaign contributions page and her social media profiles all mention her work to “fix Route 28,” which runs through her district in Virginia.