Trans woman judge hopes to make US history
A trans woman hopes to make history by becoming the first trans person to be elected as a trial court judge in the United States.
Victoria Kolakowski, 48, is the frontrunner candidate for superior court judge in Alameda County, California.
She has over 20 years of legal and judicial experience and currently serves as a judge for the California Public Utilities Commission.
She is also co-chair of the board of directors of the Transgender Law Centre and has represented trans plaintiffs in court.
Writing on her website, Ms Kolakowski said: “If I am elected, I would be the first openly LGBT superior court judge elected in Alameda County, the first openly LGBT person elected countywide, and the first transgender trial court judge in the United States.
“I believe that interacting with a transgender judge would help the other judges, court staff, police, district attorneys and the private bench to see people like me as respectable professionals and even colleagues, and not as ‘freaks’.
“Therefore I am passionate about blazing this trail for my community. I have been very fortunate to have a successful career as a public servant, and I feel an obligation to serve my community as a role model as well.”
She transitioned from male to female in 1989 and now lives with her wife, who she married in June 2008, on the first day gay marriage was legal in California.
Ms Kolakowski came first in a recent primary for the superior court judge post. She got 67,000 votes, 45 per cent of the total, while lawyer John Creighton got 32 per cent and a third candidate, Louis Goodman, got 22 percent.
Because no candidate won a majority, Ms Kolakowski and Mr Creighton will face a run-off in November.