The real winner tonight is Danica Roem (D). She will be the first transgender lawmaker in Va.— sarah amy harvard ?? (@amyharvard_) November 8, 2017
But even better: She unseated Del. Bob Marshall (R) who ran on a transphobic campaign and sponsored Va. horrendous bathroom bill.
Democrat Danica Roem made history as she became the first openly transgender woman to be elected and serve as a state legislator.
The hard-won victory came after she took on the ultra-conservative Republican incumbent Robert Marshall in Virginia’s 13th House of Delegates district. Marshall has served in the state legislator for a whopping 26 years. In contrast, Roem just turned 33 this September, making her victory even more inspiring.
Roem, a former journalist, built her campaign on popular issues like traffic congestion on local highways, improving schools, increasing teachers’ pay, supporting civil rights, creating more jobs in the region and raising minimum wage.
To put things into perspective, Marshall, has earned the name the LGBT community has given him: “Bigot Bob.”
The Republican has taken harsh stances against the LGBTQ community, including writing Virginia’s state constitutional amendment that banned gay marriages, which was consequently rejected by a federal judge. He even called himself the state's "chief homophobe."
He also sponsored Virginia’s “bathroom bill” intending to ban transgender people from using restrooms matching their identity (his own party killed that proposal) and pushed a ban on gay people serving in the Virginia National Guard. He continued to run his homophobic agenda this year but still lost.
During an interview about his opponent, Marshall kept referring to Roem as “he.”
“You can’t change your sex, it’s not even a debatable proposition,” he stated.
Harming the LGBTQ community isn’t the only thing that Marshall aspires to.
When questioned about his move to block a Medicaid expansion, which purported to benefit 400,000 people, Marshall gave a bizarre argument suggesting expanding the health care initiative would mean cutting down on other things.
“Tell me which school program or transportation program you want to cut? You tell me, then I’ll tell you whether I agree with you or not,” he asked.
Meanwhile, Marshall also built his campaign by running transphobic attacks on Roem and accusing her of teaching preschool students about gender identity.
However, Marshall’s attack ads became his own undoing as they enabled Roem to debunk the rumors surrounding the LGBTQ community.
i hope danica roem writes a bill to stop bob marshall from using any bathroom, including the one in his own house— (???)? ??? ???? (@Glittertooth) November 8, 2017
RALPH NORTHAM.— Tori Taylor (@toritaylor) November 8, 2017
Democrats aren’t just winning tonight. We are making history.
Danica Roem will be the first transgender member of a state legislature. And she beat a vicious bigot in a swing seat to do it!— Robert Wheel, Esq. (@BobbyBigWheel) November 8, 2017
Couldn’t be more thrilled for Danica Roem. And good riddance to Bob Marshall, one of the most anti-choice, and anti-LGBTQ members of the VA House. https://t.co/AQfdW4oKRh— Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) November 8, 2017
“Her campaign was hard-fought — she shared her personal story with her constituents and braved constant, dehumanizing anti-trans attacks from her opponent — but that is the burden trailblazers often face,” said Aisha C. Moodie-Mills, president & CEO of the Victory Fund, an organization dedicated to electing LGBT lawmakers. “Danica has inspired trans leaders across the country, and it is inevitable more will follow in her footsteps and become powerful voices for our community.”
Roem is not the first transgender politician to win a legislative race but she will be the first one to actually take office. She defeated Marshall by 54-45 percent.
“Tonight voters chose a smart, solutions-oriented trans leader over a divisive anti-LGBTQ demagogue — sending a powerful message to anti-trans legislators all across the nation,” said Moodie-Mills. “Danica defeated ‘Bigot Bob’ Marshall not because she is transgender, but because she presented a positive vision for her constituents that will improve their lives.”
Banner/Thumbnail: Friends of Danica Roem via REUTERS