Danica Roem is the first publicly elected transgender person in Virginia
Danica Roem has won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, becoming one of the first openly transgender people to be elected to legislature in the U.S and the first to be elected for that particular legislature. To make her victory that much more sweet, Roem, a Democrat, beat the Republican Bob Marshall, a man who reportedly called himself “chief homophobe”. He previously attempted to enact a law restricting transgender people’s use of bathrooms in schools in his state, citing concerns over the “safety” of children. Marshall has held the seat for 13 terms. Roem had 54 per cent of the vote.
Roem is intending to fix transportation in her district, saying that Marshall had neglected this area to focus on his homophobic and transphobic agenda. Through the campaign, he has refused to debate Roem or call her by her correct pronouns, saying “did Danica's DNA change?" following her win, Roem said that “a message of inclusion and equality resonated here”.
“No matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship or who you love, if you have good public policy ideas, if you're qualified for office, you have every right to bring your ideas to the table,” she previously told Associated Press.
The politician has received widespread support, including former vice president Joe Biden and former vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.
The president and CEO of Victory Fund, who endorsed Roem, said in a statement that “voters chose a smart, solutions-oriented trans leader over a divisive anti-LGBTQ demagogue – sending a powerful message to anti-trans legislators all across the nation” adding “Danica defeated ‘Bigot Bob’ Marshall not because she is transgender, but because she presented a positive vision for her constituents that will improve their lives”.
Marshall wrote the “Physical Privacy Act”, the anti-trans bathroom bill, as well as a previous constitutional amendment that excluded marriage equality, and sponsored a bill that aimed to ban LGBT people from openly serving in the National Guard.
When she isn’t fighting for LGBT rights or making history, Roem, who also used to be a journalist, is a vocalist for the thrash metal band Cab Ride Home. She told Noisey: “just because I sing in a heavy metal band while spinning my head in circles and getting paid to do it, why can’t I run for government?”
Roem told her supporters after her win: “To every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever been stigmatised, who’s ever been the misfit, whose ever been the kid in the corner, whose ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own … This one’s for you.”