America's first transgender state legislator has just been elected
It seems that progressives finally have some good news to talk about it when it comes to politics. After months upon months of taking a straight uninterrupted chug from a bucket of garbage-flavored Ls, the Democrats have had major local victories in the state of Virginia, as is customary for the losing party during a midterm season.
One woman who won a state legislature seat in Virginia, however, has made history. Danica Roem won a landslide victory against Bob Marshall, who has occupied his seat since 1992. Marshall is infamous for writing the Virginia transgender bathroom bill last year, attempting to legislate identity and restrict the rights of trans women like Danica Roem.
So Roem took his seat, and proved that a trans woman could defeat a wildly transphobic long-time Republican incumbent. Quite the accomplishment - a victory for trans people against the identity politics obsessed dinosaurs on the right who misgendered Roem and demeaned her. On right-wing talk show radio, Marshall said that Roem “clearly is a male". Now, Marshall is clearly unemployed.
Danica Roem is a 32 year old journalist, a Democrat and a savvy politician who brilliantly used the right's focus on identity to her advantage. Instead of marketing herself solely as a trans woman, she focused on the issues, and instead characterized Marshall as the one who was obsessed with identity, and criticized his social conservatism. It worked.
Roem will be the first transgender person to be elected to the House of Delegates in Virginia, as well as the first openly transgender state legislator in all of America. She transitioned at age 28.
She said: “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."
Roem is also a heavy metal singer, carrying a wide range of interests into the state legislature. Her key issues include increasing the pay of teachers, making better traffic laws, spending public money for the local public benefit on roads and infrastructure, and championing equity as a principle of governance and citizenship.
Aisha C. Moodie-Mills, the CEO of the Victory Fund, a pro-LGBTQ fundraising organization, said: “2017 will be remembered as the year of the trans candidate – and Danica’s heroic run for office the centerpiece of that national movement."
It will take a while to see the results of this recent electoral wave in the state of Virginia. The state's Republican Trump-endorsed candidate for governor also lost his election to Democrat Ralph Northam, signaling a poor showing for Trump. However, Northam is a standard establishment Democrat with some very conservative views on the legal system. Whether or not progressive policy will come to pass in Virginia remains to be seen.
We should be cautiously optimistic, always cautious, but it is heartening to see that a transgender woman can win public office in Trump's America against the very man who sought to legislate inequality into the state law.