Tuesday was a historic night for the nation’s transgender community, which watched as at least six transgender people won elections and paved the way for others to join them in leadership positions in the coming years.
Danica Roem became the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature, defeating 13-term incumbent Del. Robert G. Marshall, who called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and who introduced a “bathroom bill” that would have restricted the bathrooms Roem could use. The Minneapolis City Council will have two transgender members: Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham, who gender advocates say are the first openly transgender black people elected to public office in the United States.
In Palm Springs, Calif., Lisa Middleton won a seat on her city council as the first openly transgender person elected to a nonjudicial office in the state. Tyler Titus will be the first openly transgender person to hold office in Pennsylvania after winning a seat on the Erie School Board. And Stephe Koontz, an openly transgender woman, won a city council seat in Doraville, Ga.
The key word in these landmark wins is “openly” — these transgender candidates aren’t the first to be voted into public office.
The difference, historians say, is that Roem, Jenkins, Cunningham, Middleton, Titus and Koontz all campaigned as transgender advocates and were open with voters about being transgender. Voters then elected them into their respective offices, in theory because they were the best candidates for the job.
Twenty years ago, it was rare for candidates to display such transparency. Read more via Washington Post