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Virginia Elects First Transgender Person To US State Legislature

Danica Roem defeated a man who sponsored an anti-trans bathroom bill in Virginia in Tuesday’s election…
 
Democrat Danica Roem has become the first openly transgender person elected to a US state legislature, after winning a decisive victory for a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates on Tuesday night.
 
Roem, a former journalist for the Gainesville Times, won a surprise victory in the Democratic primary in June. Last night she beat 13-term incumbent Del. Robert G. Marshall, a conservative Republican who sponsored a bill earlier this year to restrict transgender people from using the bathroom corresponding to their gender identity. The bill never passed, ultimately.
 
Marshall hasn’t been shy about his anti-LGBTQ beliefs; he once called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe.” Throughout the race, Marshall refused to debate Roem or even appear at the same campaign forums as her, the Washington Post reported. And in the days leading up to Virginia’s election, Marshall’s party released a campaign ad that highlighted Roem’s transgender identity and accusing her of “lewd” and “shocking” behaviour. The Virginia Republican Party also paid for campaign fliers that repeatedly referred to Roem in the wrong gender, with a header that read: “Danica Roem, born male, has made a campaign issue out of transitioning to female.”
 
Roem’s victory speech last night made it clear that she does not plan to stoop to similar personal attacks once she starts in Virginia’s state legislature.
 
When asked about her opponent last night at her victory party, Roem said, “I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.”
 
In her speech, Roem said she promised to focus on issues that affect the state of Virginia.
 
“This is the important stuff,” she said. “We can’t get lost in discrimination. We can’t get lost in B.S. We can’t get lost tearing each other down.”
 
She continued:
 
When you champion inclusion, when you champion equality, and you focus on the issues that unite us, like building up our infrastructure, taking care of our roads, making sure our teacher pay isn’t the lowest in Northern Virginia … that’s the sort of stuff, those are the issues that you’ve got to focus on as a delegate, that you’ve got to focus on as a candidate. Because that’s what impacts everyone’s life, every single day.
 
I want to make a point here that no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, who you love, how you identify, and yeah, how you run, that if you have good public policy ideas, if you are well qualified for office, bring those ideas to the table, because this is your America, too. This is our commonwealth of Virginia, too.
 
David Toscano, the Democratic leader in Virginia’s house of delegates, said of Roem’s win: “It’s historic… It sends a message to politicians everywhere that the politics of bigotry is over.”

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