Danica Roem, Andrea Jenkins, more: Is this election a moment for the transgender community?
Last night, voters elected at least four transgender candidates to government offices around the nation. It’s not a large number, but it’s a meaningful one.
“Last night was a victory for so many remarkable LGBTQ candidates, but it was also a victory for inclusion and acceptance,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “This is a clear repudiation of President Trump’s hate-fueled politics of bullying and browbeating. Yesterday, Americans took to the polls and chose optimism, hope, and new leadership – and this is only the beginning of our resistance.”
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a national organization dedicated to electing openly LGBTQ people said in a statement that “2017 will be remembered as the year of the trans candidate.”
Here’s a look at those elected:
Danica Roem, Virginia’s House of Delegates
Democrat Danica Roem, a former journalist, defeated incumbent Republican candidate Del. Bob Marshall Tuesday to become the first openly transgender elected official in Virginia. Roem, 33, is now also set to make history as the first openly transgender person to be elected and seated in a state legislature. She led by about 9%. Roem’s campaign focused on jobs, schools and traffic problems rather than gender identity. She argued that Marshall had spent too much of his energy in office tackling social issues like the bathroom bill.
Danica is not the first transgender person elected to state office, but she is the first openly transgender person, GLAAD noted in an email to USA TODAY. Althea Garrison was elected in Massachusetts in 1992, but did not disclose that she was transgender – she was outed as being transgender after she won her race and then did not win reelection.
Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council
Andrea Jenkins has made history as the first out transgender black person elected to public office in the United States. She ran against three other candidates and won more than 70% of the votes in her ward. She only needed to break 50% to win.
“My election is what resistance looks like,” Jenkins said in a statement Tuesday night. “It’s also about hope. As a City Council Member, I will be committed to advocating for equity for the most marginalized in our community.”
Jenkins has 12 years of experience as a campaign aide to other city council members. She said she wants to make Minneapolis a better place for African Americans to live in, create more affordable housing, police accountability and economic development.
Lisa Middleton, Palm Springs, Calif., City Council
Lisa Middleton became the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California. She secured a spot on the Palm Springs City Council with nearly 31% of the votes. As a member of the Palm Spring Planning Commission, she focused on revitalizing downtown Palm Springs and promoted use of solar and renewable power.
“It’s all because of all of you that we are here tonight, celebrating a victory, a historic victory for our city and for our state,” Middle told supporters.
Tyler Titus, Erie School Board
Tyler Titus is the first openly trans person ever elected in Pennsylvania. He’s a counselor, youth advocate and father. He publicly speaks to communities about trauma, suicide, and how communities can reach out to under-served populations, according to this Facebook page.
“Thank you to my volunteers, each supporter, and every voter,” Titus said on Twitter. “We made history tonight.”