Trans candidate could make history in Virginia House race
A Democratic candidate who happens to be transgender could make history in the Virginia House.
Danica Roem hopes to be successful in the Virginia House of Delegates elections which will take place on 7 November.
She goes against Del Bob Marshall, a strong opponent of LGBT rights.
Danica Roem is a Democratic candidate in the elections, and says the election is about “local issues”.
“The top issue we face in the 13th District is fixing Route 28 so morning rush hour isn’t unbearable. It was awful in 1992 and it’s awful today. It’s time to change it,” Roem wrote on her website.
The transgender political activist is challenging Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, a strong opponent of LGBT equality.
“Danica clearly is out here doing this for making a marker in the national character that you can engage in this behavior – which clearly goes against the laws of nature and nature’s God – and hold public office to make decisions on behalf of the common good,” Marshall said in an interview this weekend.
“That is what is kind of at stake here.”
“If someone goes through the process of changing their sex — I don’t think it’s very smart because such people have very high rates of self-harm. That’s documented, not from me,” Marshall added to the Washington Post.
“But if they go through that, fine. Let them use that bathroom.”
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.”
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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.