On Tuesday night Danica Roem defeated Bob Marshall in Virginia’s 13th district. Roem’s victory makes her the first trans woman to serve on Virginia’s state legislature — Roem’s election also makes her the first openly trans candidate in the country to run and win a seat on any state’s legislature.
Roem’s win is especially sweet for another reason. Marshall, a 26-year veteran in Virginia’s state legislature, proposed an anti-trans bathroom bill in January. That bill was eventually blocked, but Marshall’s virulent anti-LGBTQ attacks continued during the campaign.
In September, Marshall asked why a reporter referred to Roem as woman. “Did Danica’s DNA change,” he questioned. Responding to Marshall’s clearly transphobic remark, Roem released a powerful ad, titled “Inspire,” elucidating why her identity shouldn’t affect her ability to serve.
“I’m running for office because my identity shouldn’t be a big deal. This shouldn’t be newsworthy or political. This is just who I am,” she said in the ad.
Althea Garrison was technically the first trans woman to serve on a state legislature; she was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1992, however she was not openly trans when she won.