Danica Roem was elected as the first transgender person to the Virginia House Of Delegates on Tuesday, as reported by NBC News. In the history-making political outcome, she will become the first openly transgender state legislator to be seated in the United States.
“Discrimination is a disqualifier,” Roem said of her victory on Tuesday night, as noted by the Washington Post. “This is about the people of [Virginia's 13th House Of Delegates District] disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias… where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”
Democrat Roem, a former journalist and longtime metal vocalist, defeated the incumbent Bob Marshall. The unseated Republican is well known for his stance against LGBTQ rights, and he and his supporters ran attack ads disparaging Roem's transgender identity during the campaign.
“We're trying to make a statement about making Virginia… more inclusive,” Roem recently told Noisey. “We're trying to get rid of laws that the Supreme Court said, 'Guess what? They're not valid anymore.' Marriage equality is the law of the land, whether anyone likes it or not … and it's time for us to take out those parts of our state code that still make us a regressive place.”
“It shouldn't matter what you look like, where you come from… or who you love,” Roem said. “We should be saying, 'Welcome to Virginia.'”
Only one other openly transgender person has been elected to a U.S. state legislature, per the New York Times: Stacie Laughton won a New Hampshire House seat in 2012 but never took office due to a felony conviction. Another politician, Althea Garrison, elected to the Massachusetts House in 1992, announced she was transgender during her term but lost re-election.
Watch a video about Roem's Virginia House Of Delegates campaign below.
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