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Danica Roem elected Virginia's first openly transgender state official

09 November 2017

Many incumbent House seats flipped from red to blue last night (Tuesday 11/7).

The hard-won victory came after she took on the ultra-conservative Republican incumbent Robert Marshall in Virginia's 13 House of Delegates district.

Roem wasn't the only transgender candidate elected Tuesday. Kathy Tran, a refugee from Vietnam, became the first Asian American woman elected to the Virgina House of Delegates.

Marshall made Roem's gender identity a source of attacks in the campaign too, repeatedly using male pronouns to refer to Roem and sending out an attack ad on a flyer based exclusively around Roem being trans.

Danica Roem Promises a "More Inclusive Commonwealth" She never uses the word "transgender", but images are shown with her campaigning while wearing a rainbow handkerchief scarf. "It's something that even if you are cisgender, but you have some reason that you've been singled out in your life, you have some reason that you've been stigmatized in your life, you've had some reason when you've been cornered in your life for being yourself, you can look at me and say, 'If she can do this, so can I'".

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This makes Roem the first openly transgender person to be elected at either a state or federal level to be elected to a legislature.

Marshall had been at odds with LGBT issues and had proposed a state bill in 2015 that would allow anyone who has a license with the state to refuse services to gay people and earlier this year introduced a bill to restrict transgender people's access to public restrooms, CNN local affiliates reported.

Other firsts that happened on election night were Andrew Jenkins was the first trans woman of color to be elected to city council in a major city. Ravinder Bhalla became the first elected Sikh mayor of Hoboken, New Jersey.

In her bio on the campaign website, Roem stated that she learned to listen to different perspectives and digest complicated policy as a reporter for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times.

Seattle elected its first female mayor since 1926. Tyler Titus, who is openly transgender, won a seat on a western Pennsylvania school board. Vi Lyles became the first African-American woman elected mayor of Charlotte, North Carolina.

Danica Roem elected Virginia's first openly transgender state official