Transgender Democrat Danica Roem is facing a transphobic ad blitz as she seeks re-election
Virginia lawmaker Danica Roem is facing transphobic attacks from lobby groups as she fights for re-election.
Roem made history as the first out transgender state lawmaker in 2017, when she won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.
Although she primarily campaigned on local issues, Roem’s opponents have sought to weaponise her gender identity as she seeks re-election.
The anti-LGBT Family Foundation Action has been targeting Roem online with Facebook ads that conflate Democratic healthcare policies with her own gender identity.
Above a photo of the lawmaker, the ad states: “Delegate Danica Roem (D – Dist. 13) sponsored a bill to force all insurance companies to pay for harmful and unnecessary ‘gender transition’ surgeries. Reject Roem’s EXTREME social agenda on Nov. 5th!”
The bill the ad appears to be referring to, which was sponsored by 20 Democrats, stated that insurers should provide coverage “without discrimination on the basis of gender identity.”
Danica Roem is taking the high road
Roem, who won election after campaigning heavily on local transport issues, bemoaned opponents’ tactics of targeting her gender identity.
She wrote: “I voted to expand Medicaid, raise teacher pay and pass the largest transportation funding bill in six years.
“So what do the groups who want to unseat me resort to? Transphobia – today included. #FlipTheScript on their bigotry. Donate today and let’s win big this Tuesday, Nov. 5.”
LGBTQ Victory Fund, which supports LGBT+ candidates, also decried the ad – noting that Family Foundation Action has “strong ties” to Roem’s opponent Kelly McGinn.
Annise Parker said: “Throughout this campaign, Kelly McGinn was careful to hide from voters her years of advocacy for anti-LGBTQ and anti-women causes.
“But with desperation kicking in less than a week before Election Day, McGinn is abandoning a debate on how to best serve Virginians and is instead attempting to weaponize bigotry for her own political gain.
“McGinn is Virginia’s Donald Trump: willing to use divisiveness to create fractures in her community so she can advance her own self-interests.
“Meanwhile, Danica refused to use personal attacks and is instead running on the issues that will best improve her constituents’ lives. These attacks will backfire.”
The group noted that McGinn “has a long history of opposing equality for LGBTQ people,” having signed a letter comparing same-sex marriage to slavery, and decrying same-sex adoption as a “social experiment on our children.”
Mike Pence is campaigning in Virginia
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence is heading out on the campaign trail ahead of elections in the state on Tuesday.
Geoff Wetrosky of Human Rights Campaign said: “Vice President Mike Pence and the legislative candidates he’s in Virginia to support have demeaned LGBTQ people in an effort to dehumanize us and pander to an ever-shrinking bloc of anti-equality voters.
“Throughout the closing weeks of this campaign, anti-equality candidates have ramped up their attacks on our allies using extremist, despicable language.
“Next week, Virginia voters will have the opportunity to choose equality and reject the anti-LGBTQ extremism of Pence and the candidates he supports.”