Virginia and Minnesota Elect Openly Transgender Women as State and City Legislators 

Photo: AP

On Tuesday, Virginia
elected
its first transgender state legislator, the
Democratic candidate Danica Roem, upsetting longtime
Republican, and
homophobe-in-chief
Robert Marshall’s 26-year reign.

During his tenure on the state legislature, Marshall did, and
tried to do, some pretty abhorrent things, like
write
an anti-gay marriage amendment (rejected by a federal
judge), sponsor Virginia’s transgender bathroom bill, and
sponsor a
ban
on gay people serving in the Virginia National Guard.
Marshall continued to run on an anti-LGBTQ platform this year,
and lost. His campaign website
reads
, “Success of the GLBT agenda in recent years has
largely depended on identifying the homosexual movement as a
modern version of the Civil Right struggle. This is, of course,
nonsense.”


Roem
, a former journalist, landed on local traffic
congestion as her central
campaign issue
, clearly a popular issue, as well as
improving schools, raising the state’s minimum wage, and
supporting civil rights.

Althea Garrison, a black woman and the first trans woman
elected to a state legislature, won her Massachusetts seat in
1992. Garrison was not out as trans during the election, but
was later
outed
against her wishes by The Boston Herald, a revelation
which, aside from being invasive and cruel, negatively impacted
her career.

And—more encouraging and historic news tonight!—shortly after
Roem’s race was called, Democrat Andrea Jenkins officially

won
her city council race in Minneapolis, Minnesota, making
her the “first out trans woman of color elected to public
office in America,”
according to
the press secretary of the Human Rights
Campaign.

Jenkins, a former policy
aide
to the outgoing Council Vice President Elizabeth
Glidden, ran on a platform that includes supporting artists of
color, raising the minimum wage, addressing youth violence as a
public health concern, and developing affordable housing. She
has also worked as a poet, an author, and a performance artist.

Update: This post has been updated to include information
about the Althea Garrison.

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