Transgender candidate faces vile slurs from her Republican opponent
A Democratic candidate who happens to be transgender is facing shocking bigotry from her ultra-conservative GOP opponent.
Danica Roem is a Democratic candidate in the Virginia House of Delegates elections, which takes place in November.
The transgender political activist is challenging Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, a strong opponent of LGBT equality.
Ahead of the election, Marshall has refused to debate with Roem, has repeatedly referred to her as a man, and deliberately misgenders her at every opportunity.
In an interview last month he challenged a reporter for referring to Roem as female, asking: “Why do you call Danica a female? Did Danica’s DNA change?”
Though her campaign has broadly focused on local and national political issues, Roem hit back at Marshall’ smears this week with an ad that embraces her identity as a trans woman.
The ad shows her taking hormones, and putting on make-up.
In it, she says: “I’m running for office because my identity shouldn’t be a big deal. This shouldn’t be newsworthy or political. This is just who I am.
“There are millions of transgender people in this country and we all deserve representation in government.
“So when I stand up on the Statehouse floor and the Speaker says the Gentlewoman from Manassas, LGBTQ kids everywhere will know they can succeed because of who they are, not despite it.”
Check out the ad:
Marshall held the seat by just one percentage point in 2013, meaning that Roem could make history as the first openly trans elected representative in a US legislature.
Her opponent, meanwhile, is a virulently anti-LGBT Republican who previously co-authored the state’s now-defunct constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
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 out closeted kids to their parents – even if the child is in the closet or fears a violent reaction at home.
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”.
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.