The victories for LGBT candidates on election night 2017 seemed as sudden as lightning bolts.
Early in the night, Danica Roem won a closely watched Virginia House of Delegates Race, and is now set to become the first openly transgender elected and seated state legislator in the country, beating self-declared “chief homophobe” and bathroom-bill author Bob Marshall.
Not long afterward, Andrea Jenkins won a seat on the Minneapolis city council, making her the first openly transgender black woman to win an election. At the end of the night, Seattlegot its first lesbian mayor in former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan.
But in reality, these wins were a long time coming.
“We actually trained them, developed them, [and] gave them their campaign boot camp skills when they expressed interest initially over a year ago,” Victory Fund president Aisha C. Moodie-Mills said of the Roem and Jenkins races in a phone interview, noting that “these were not Hail Mary longshots by any stretch of the imagination.”
The Victory Fund, which works to elect LGBT candidates and trains them through partner organization the Victory Institute, had branded 2017 in particular as “the year of the transgender candidate”—a prediction that came true Tuesday night.
In addition to Roem and Jenkins, five other transgender candidates won their contests: Tyler Titus became the first openly transgender elected official in Pennsylvania by winning a slot on the Erie School Board, Lisa Middleton—as the Desert Sun put it—became “the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office” in California after winning her election to the Palm Springs city council, a transgender woman in Georgia named Stephe Koontz narrowly won her race to serve on the city council in Doraville, and Gerri Cannon won a New Hampshire school board race. The icing on the cake: Early Wednesday evening, Andrea Jenkins was joined by out black transgender man Phillipe Cunningham, who also won a spot on the Minneapolis City Council. Read more via Daily Beast