Friday, November 10, 2017

CELEBRITY FRIDAY: Danica Roem Elected Virginia's 1st Transgender State Legislator

Danica Roem made history on Tuesday night by becoming the first transgender person elected to the Virginia House of Delegates as a Democrat. Some news outlets falsely were claiming that Roem was the first transgender person ever elected to a state legislature, unfortunately forgetting the historical achievement of Althea Garrison who was elected as a legislator in Massachusetts in 1993 (as a Republican!). The first out transgender person to be elected to a state legislature is Stacie Laughton who was elected in New Hampshire in 2012. Even as someone who has taught LGBT history multiple times I was unaware of Laughton's or Garrison's feats prior to this week so it is hard to fault the media in their error with Roem.

Another amazing aspect of Roem's victory is that she did it by soundly (54% to 45%) defeating Bob Marshall, who was a 13-term incumbent in the Virginia legislature and who is notoriously homophobic and transphobic and referred to by the Washington Post as the state's "most socially conservative state lawmaker." He refused to debate Roem and he and his party referred to Roem by the incorrect gender.

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