Danica Roem: The First Transgender State House Delegate

On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Danica Roem (Democrat) was elected into the Virginia House of Delegates. By doing so, Roem made history by being one of the first openly transgender person to be elected, and the only transgender person to currently serve within a State legislature throughout America.

Photo via MetroWeekly 

Roem was pitted against Robert G. Marshall who had been seated on the Virginia House of Delegates for the past 13 terms. To clarify, Marshall, age 73, had been a delegate for the past 26 years. Throughout his most current campaign Marshall refused to address Roem by her preferred pronouns, refused to debate against Roem, and made a large effort to convince voters to discredit Roem based on her gender identity. However, none of this is surprising. Marshall is a self-declared homophobe and was the one to introduce the infamous “bathroom bill” to the legislature.

Photo via WTOP

Unlike Marshall, Roem didn't make a big deal about her gender. Roem brushed off Marshall's attacks and focused her campaign on tackling local issues.  She introduced herself to the voters as a “stepmom, local reporter, and lifelong Manassas resident.” Roem had previously been a reporter for Prince William County for the past nine years, reporting on everything from schools, business, politics and transportation, emphasizing on transportation being a large issue. Some of the main issues Roem addressed in her campaign were fixing the traffic caused by Route 22, building up jobs, raising teachers’ salaries and improving equality within the community.

In an interview with Time, Roem explained, “When people see me doing this, they’re going to be, like, ‘Wow, she’s transgender, I don’t get that… But she’s really, really focused on improving my commute, and I do get that.”

Photo via New York Times 

While Roem does not emphasize her gender expression, she does not attempt to hide her identity. This is huge for the LGBT community. She shows that if a transgender, metalhead stepmom can win a seat in one of the most conservative State’s House of Delegates, anyone with a passion and purpose can achieve true change. Did we forget to mention that she’s also the first member of a heavy metal band to win a seat in any House of Delegates?

Photo via NOISEY 

In her victory speech, this badass lady dedicates her success to, “every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever been stigmatized, who’s ever been the misfit, who’s ever been the kid in the corner, who’s ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own. This one is for you.”

I am a junior studying International Relations, with dreams to join the PeaceCorps after. In the meantime, I'll keep my flippers wet in the beautiful Gulf waters and enjoy each moment as they flow.

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