This November saw off-year legislative elections as well as gubernatorial elections in both Virginia and New Jersey. A year following the election of President Donald Trump, American voters took this opportunity to voice their opinions towards this new style of politics. More specifically, Virginia made wakes after voters elected the first openly transgender official, Danica Roem.
Roem will be the first openly transgender official to serve in the state House of Delegates. The fight for her spot is especially compelling considering she ran against a homophobic, pro-trump republican. Incumbent Robert G. Marshall has spent his career in opposition to gay and transgender people, even proposing a transgender “bathroom bill” which died before it could make headway. This, along with many other questionable choices from Marshall, made him a target for anti-trump democrats.
Marshall further agitated the democrats in Virginia by making the campaign ugly for Roem. Marshall’s campaign leaned hard on Roem’s gender by denying her debates, referring to her only with her intrinsic male pronouns, and even running ads dismissing her gender identity and value as an individual.
Roem, despite this opposition, worked tirelessly with her supporters to come out on top. She released multiple statements expressing her disdain for her opponent, but never faltered or showed weakness in the face of her enemy. In the end, she raised around three times as much money as Marshall did, and led the election by an average of nine percentage points.
If any election can be used to send a political message, it is certainly Virginia’s this past week. Voters, in opposition to a pro-Trump incumbent, stood in the face of political adversity and true hate, to give a clear example of how to fight against Trump politics. Especially following the President’s transgender military ban, proposed earlier this year, Roem’s election was a rallying point and huge step forward for transgender people.