This woman wants to be the first openly transgender governor in the United States
A transgender woman has announced her intention to run for the governor of Vermont.
Christine Hallquist, the CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative announced her plan to run for governor in this year’s governors race in November.
Christine is likely running against Republican incumbent Phil Scott who was elected in 2016, as no other Republican candidates have announced their plan to run.
Vermont is one of two US states to have two-year terms for governor, along with New Hampshire. Governors in the other 48 states have four-year terms.
In an interview with local news channel WPTZ-TV Christine said that she was confident in her ability to run, and that her gender identity shouldn’t stop people from voting for her.
She said: “I consider myself a very strong leader with a good history who happens to be transgender.
“I mean I’d ask the voters who may be struggling with the fact I am transgender to try to look beyond that. Try to look at what I’ve done.”
She then criticised the Republican party for their anti-LGBT stance, which has included an expansion of ‘religious freedom’ bills and a recent federal plan by the Trump administration to allow health workers to reject transgender patients.
Christine said: “I can’t be a Republican today. It’s like kissing the ring of your oppressor. The GOP platform is anti-LGBT, and anti-other minorities.”
Christine is the first transgender woman to run for state office in Vermont, and if elected, the 61-year-old would be the United States’ first trans state governor.
She is one of four people to have declared themselves a Democratic candidate for the race and will have to face the other three candidates in a primary election in the coming months.
2017 brought several victories for transgender people in political seats in the US.
Danica Roem made history as one of the first trans women to be elected as a state representative, after winning a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Andrea Jenkins won a landslide victory in Minneapolis’s Eighth Ward to give her a place on the City Council, making her the first trans woman of colour elected to any office in the US.
Vermont is one of five US states and DC to have banned ‘gay cure’ therapy, a harmful practice that seeks to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity.
The bill banning conversion therapy for gay and trans people in the state was signed in 2016 by former governor Gov. Peter Shumlin, who said Vermont will continue to stand up to hatred and bigotry.
He said: “It’s absurd to think that being gay or transgender is something to be cured of.”
Watch Christine’s interview with WPTZ-TV below