First transgender woman runs for office in Virginia

The showdown will take place in November 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Thursday 15 June 2017 14:06
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Transgender candidate Danica Roen campaigns prior to winning Virginia primary

This week, the 32-year-old came a step closer to securing that achievement when she beat three other candidates for the Democratic primary. She now faces a showdown against a veteran Republican politician known for promoting anti-LBGTQ legislation and views who has called transgender people “gender confused”. If she does, she would be one of just three openly transgender state officials in the entire country.

“It would be absolutely historic if a transgender woman was elected to help the improve the roads and make it easier for the people of Virginia to get to work,” Ms Roem told The Independent, speaking from Manassas.

Ms Roem, a stepmother, faces a tough challenge to win in November. She believes she can do so by knocking on "more than 20,000 doors".

She won the primary by campaigning on local issues - roads, the quality of schools, and public transport. She said she had gone out campaigning with a notebook, asked people their concerns, and writing them down. “I take notes so I can understand what people want,” she said.

She said this put her in stark contrast with the man who will her opponent in the battle for Virginia’s 13th District, incumbent Bob Marshall, who has held the seat since 1992. She said he was campaigning on "cultural issues".

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Earlier this year, Mr Marshall sponsored a failed effort to introduce legislation similar to that which sparked controversy in North Carolina, and which would have forced people to use bathrooms in government buildings that accorded with their “original birth certificate”, not their gender identity.

Mr Marshall says he is proud of his conservative views

The Washington Blade said Mr Marshall was also behind the Marshall-Newman Amendment, which made a ban on same-sex marriage part of the state constitution in Virginia until a federal judge overturned the measure.

He issued a statement to journalists referring to Ms Roem with male pronouns, and saying had always been candid about his conservative views and would run a campaign focused on those issues.

Ms Roem is one of seven LGBTQ candidates in Virginia to advance to November’s general elections. If she wins, she would be the third openly transgender state legislator to ever hold office in the US and one of only a few openly trans elected officials in the world.

Mr Marshall, 73, did not immediately respond to inquiries.

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