Democrat Danica Roem is challenging longtime conservative incumbent Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) who is seeking a 14th term for re-election to Virginia’s House of Delegates. If Roem wins the upcoming election on Nov. 7, she would be the first openly transgender elected official in Virginia.
In response to Trump’s transgender military ban that was signed in August, there has been a national spike in transgender candidates.
According to the LGBTQ Representation and Rights Initiative, Roem is one of at least 20 other transgender candidates currently running for office in the U.S. Should she be declared the victor of the election in November, Roem would also become the third transgender state legislator elected in the U.S., a groundbreaking achievement.
However, Roem’s opponent, 72-year-old Robert G. Marshall, has also motivated her to run against him. Marshall has refused to acknowledge Roem using female pronouns, saying that the transgender identity was “against the laws of nature and nature’s God.”
In the past, Marshall has also proposed a “bathroom bill” to restrict public bathroom use by transgender people in fear that, “men and boys will pretend to be transgender to infiltrate bathrooms and locker rooms used by girls.”
However, countering the rise of discrimination against transgender individuals, groups such as Trans United Fund and the Victory Fund are emerging for the first time ever. These groups work to build political leadership and visibility of trans people and allies, providing campaign donations and candidate trainings to help trans candidates rise up against conservative opponents.
According to President Aisha C. Moodie-Mills of the Victory Fund, there are, “…more transgender people running this cycle than almost all other cycles combined.” You can learn more about Danica’s goals and story here.