On Transgender Representation in Government

My friend texted me this morning about something she was super excited about. Danica Roem, a Democrat from Virginia, has won a seat in the House of Delegates. Why is this exciting? Roem is openly transgender, and she beat Bob Marshall, an incumbent of thirteen terms who was vehemently anti-LGBTQ+. He even initiated a bill to restrict transgender bathroom usage.

 

After hearing this news from her, I got curious. Is Roem really the first transgender lawmaker? It seems like a shocking statistic, but who knows, maybe it is true. I did some research, and found an article on Snopes fact checking my exact question. Althea Garrison, a Republican representative from Massachusetts was elected in 1992. At the time, she did not identify as a transgender woman. Unfortunately, her gender identity was revealed without her consent to the public by the conservative newspaper, the Boston Herald. Since then, Garrison has understandably switched political parties.

 

On a more positive note, three other Democratic candidates won their races alongside Roem. This is super exciting because we’re moving away from a governmental body that has a majority of white men. While there have been advancements with women and POC, there is a still a very small number of LGBTQ+ folks. I know a lot of people won’t see how this is important. The legislative branch as a whole is meant to represent the people of America. If there are only white men, there are many interests that are being overlooked or perceived differently than some would want. Bob Marshall, the homophobic Virginian that Roem defeated is a perfect example. He’s a white man who is trying to take away rights from transgender people, who don’t have much of a say because they are not represented. Even though there is still so much hate and close-mindedness in this country, there are small redemptions occurring all the time.