History has been made in the state of Virginia this week, as openly trans candidate for state legislature, Danica Roem, secured her seat at the House. She is not only the first openly transgender person to win a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, she's the first trans person to even run.
Roem understands she is not a 'typical political candidate.' The 33-year-old stepmother is a journalist by day, but by night, sings in a metal band called Cab Ride Home. Her victory within the Virginia House is now seen as a collective victory for those subjected to being the outcasts and outliers.
Roem's former competition, Delegate Bob Marshall is a 25-year incumbent who widely boasts conservative, anti-LGBTQ views. He also publicly opposed a proposal to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the Virginia school system's nondiscrimination policy, and has gone on record referring to his former competition as, "a guy who thinks he's a girl who wears a dress."
Following her win, Roem expressed her excitement at a public forum:
“To every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever been stigmatized, who’s ever been the misfit, who’s ever been the kid in the corner, who’s ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own; This one is for you.”
Running on ideologies that focus on the people – such as improving traffic conditions, public transportation, health care and education – Roem swept her competition, which focused primarily on religious and conservative sentiments.
During her campaign, Roem outraised Marshall 3-to-1 with nearly $500,000 in donations, much of it came from LGBT advocates who saw the candidate's big potential.
She is said to have knocked on doors more than 75,000 times in a district with 52,471 registered voters. In addition to making continuous public appearances and keeping a healthy online and social media presence, securing her place in history in the Virigina State House.
Shortly after Roem's race was called, Minnesota saw a monumental vote conclude as well, with Andrea Jenkins becoming the "first out trans woman of color elected to public office in America."
Cheers to change, inclusivity, and widening the political scope with the hopes of making larger scale progress in the years to come.