Danica Roem has raised thousands of dollars of campaign funds after the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) published plans to protest her presence at the General Assembly next week.
The WBC issued a statement on February 23 detailing their plans to demonstrate against Roem, who was described as “an enemy of God” among other slurs, first outside the Virginia State Capitol and later near the Virginia Commonwealth University campus on March 11.
Virginia’s first and only transgender delegate became the latest target of the anti-LGBT hate group—as they are classified by the monitoring group Southern Poverty Law Center—but Roem decided to counter the attack.
“LGBTQ candidates: people routinely attack us because of who we are. This is how we fight back. And this is how we win.”
— Danica Roem
Writing a statement in response to the protest on Twitter on March 1, Roem wanted it to make it known that her first reaction was “Meh” but then added: “Oh, and donate money to my re-election campaign. They’ll hate that.”
The fundraising campaign, which became known as #WestboroBackfire, has raised more than $26,000 at the time of writing. Updating the status of the fundraiser on her social media channels, Roem said the donations came from more than 700 people across 44 of the 50 US states, with only Hawaii, Mississippi, Nebraska, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Kansas missing from the list.
In one of her latest posts on the fundraiser, she wrote: “We saw WBC’s hate. And nearly 700 of you offered more than $25,000 in just four days. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is truly special. LGBTQ candidates: people routinely attack us because of who we are. This is how we fight back. And this is how we win.”
#WestboroBackfire shows solidarity with Danica Roem
Some of the people who supported Roem’s fundraiser have a personal reason to oppose the WBC, which became infamous for their anti-LGBT campaign “god hates fags” as well as for protesting the funeral fallen soldiers and outside synagogues.
“I’ll never forget when the WBC protested my cousin’s funeral after he was killed serving his country. Now that they’re going after Danica Roem I’m more than happy to donate to her campaign. Proud of you, Delegate!
#WestboroBackfire” one Twitter user wrote.
For others, the success of the fundraiser was a promising sign of a community coming together against hateful messages.
“Just another example that love does trump hate, the hate group that protests Military funerals, the hate group that attacks everyone that is not them, got schooled yesterday, way to
#FlipTheScript on them #WestboroBackfire is raising $ for Danica Roem’s reelection campaign,” one person wrote.
The show of solidarity with Roem’s is a fairly common response to the WBC’s targeted attacks. The local community in Pasadena, California, recently came together to support openly bisexual Jewish student Louise Deser Siskel, who was crowned the Rose Queen in December, after the hate group publicised plans to protest at her school last week.