Transgender woman makes history in Virginia by unseating ‘chief homophobe’

Danica Roem in her campaign office on September 22, 2017, in Manassas, Virginia. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)

One year after the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, Democrats came roaring back from that devastating loss on Tuesday night with resounding outcomes in a slew of general elections across the nation. Perhaps no other election encapsulated the rejection of Trumpism and a push for tolerance than a State House delegate race in Virginia. Danica Roem, a Democrat, unseated longtime incumbent State House Delegate Robert G. Marshall, a Republican, making her the first openly transgender person to be elected to public office in the state.

Marshall,73, had authored a controversial “bathroom bill,” a proposal that would have required people to use the restroom that corresponds with the gender on their original birth certificates, earlier this year. The bill was eventually killed, foreshadowing Marshall’s fate in state government. Roem, 33, is a former journalist who significantly out-fundraised Marshall during the campaign and who withstood an ugly advertisement late in the race that disparaged her for her gender, The Washington Post reported.

In an interview in the moments after her big win, Roem discussed her gender identity and said it played a role in her victory. “Yeah, I am a transgender woman,” Roem said. “We won because I am a transgender woman. Because I am a reporter. Because I am a lifelong member of Manassas. Because of my inherent identifiers — not despite them. I never ran away from them. I championed them.” Watch a clip of her remarks below.

Virginia voters who supported Roem saw her victory as a pivotal moment as well. “It’s kind of like Barack [Obama] winning the presidential election. I’m really proud of Virginia,” John Coughlin, 63, a real estate agent in Manassas who voted for Roem, said. “I don’t care about religious issues. I don’t care about items that are big on his agenda. He should be more mainstream,” Coughlin added, referring to the outgoing Marshall. For more on Roem’s historic victory, watch the video below. And it was not just a big night for Roem, several other Democrats achieved groundbreaking victories in other local elections. CNN has a good roundup here.

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Read the full story at The Washington Post.


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