This state’s first transgender candidate is taking on an incredibly anti-LGBT Republican
Danica Roem has broken a huge barrier for transgender people – and her next battle carries added significance.
The journalist has become the first out trans person to be a party nominee for state office in Virginia.
And the only person between her and a spot in the House of Delegates is a virulently anti-LGBT Republican who previously co-authored the state’s now-defunct constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
Roem, who is also a heavy metal vocalist, made history this week when she pulled off a shock win in the Democratic primary for the 13th District.
The seven-time Virginia Press Association award winner raised less money than two of her opponents but won convincingly, finishing with 43 percent of the vote, 11 percentage points ahead of second place.
She is one step away from becoming the first ever trans individual to be elected as a state legislator, and has repeatedly spoken out about LGBT issues.
“I’m not waiting to bring the fight to Del. Bob Marshall for his discriminatory social bills,” she has written on Twitter.
“We’re fighting back now.
“We are unabashedly pro-equality & anti-discrimination. It’s time we put LGBTQ kids front-and-centre, and I’m standing with them,” Roem added.
“As a trans woman, I know representation matters.”
In contrast, Republican Bob Marshall, who has been in office since 1991, has a long history of introducing hateful anti-LGBT bills to the Virginian legislature.
In January, he put forward a bill which would have forced school teachers to inform the parents of transgender kids if they ask to be referred to with different name or gender – even if the child is in the closet or fears a violent reaction at home.
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The bill, which would have also forced people to use the bathroom corresponding to the gender on their birth certificate, was killed without debate and condemned by Democratic Governor Terry McAuliffe.
Marshall has also called for the state’s Attorney General to be impeached and charged for supporting “sodomy marriage”.
And in 2015, he proposed a bill which would have effectively granted people and businesses the right to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Roem concisely summed up the state of the November 7 election at a Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund brunch last month.
“Let me make this really clear for you,” she told the crowd.
“When the people of the 13th District elect a transgender woman to replace the most anti-LGBT legislator in the South, it will be an act of certainty, and it will be a defining moment that will resonate across the country,” she said, according to LGBTQ Nation.