Democrat Danica Roem, a 33-year-old former local news reporter who is openly transgender, made history in Virginia on Tuesday, claiming victory in a House of Delegates race that attracted national media attention.
She soundly defeated 25-year incumbent Bob Marshall, a social conservative who frequently tried to use her gender identity against her throughout the campaign, even misgendering her at times. Her win in the 13th district, in northern Virginia, is a significant rebuke to the Trump administration’s hostility toward the transgender community. When she is sworn in, in January, she’ll become the first transgender person elected and seated to a state legislature.
In a September profile, Roem told Cosmopolitan.com that her candidacy gave others hope.
“The message that I can succeed because of my gender, not despite it, because of who I am without being afraid of who I am is a human message,” she said. “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.’”