Any way you look at it, last night was an absolutely historic night for America—and a stark rebuke for Trumpism a year after the biggest election mistake in American history. In what has become the most visible sign of change to come out of the elections, two transgender women have won decisive victories in Virginia and Minneapolis.
In Virginia, Danica Roem, 33, became the first openly transgender state lawmakerin America and, most importantly, she beat Bob Marshall, the transphobic politician who wrote the state’s (failed) trans bathroom bill that would’ve also required school officials to inform the parents of any student who asked “to be recognized or treated as the opposite sex.”
With her victory, the former journalist and current frontwoman for a “drunken thrash metal” band called Cab Ride Home, Roem beat a man who has been elected 13 times across a 26-year span. Marshall’s quarter-century in office culminated in him being called “Virginia’s Chief Homophobe” and now we know why—on the campaign trail, he consistently used incorrect pronouns for Roem and refused to be in the same room as her. Bye bye, bigot!
When asked about Marshall after her victory, Roem said that “I don’t attack my constituents. Bob is my constituent now.” During her acceptance speech, she thanked her supporters and the trans community, saying: “To every person who has ever been singled out, who has ever been stigmatized, who has 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 because there is no one else with them, this one is for you.”
A few states over in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Andrea Jenkins became the first transgender woman of color to be elected to public office in yet another major victory for the trans community. After campaigning for a seat in the Minneapolis City Council, she went on to win 73 percent of the votes last night. Jenkins, a 56-year-old poet and historian who transitioned in her 30s, brings 25 years of public service to the job.
In her Oscar-worthy acceptance speech, Jenkins said: “As an African-American trans-identified woman, I know firsthand the feeling of being marginalized, left out, thrown under the bus. Those days are over. We don’t just want a seat at the table, we want to set the table.”
Finally, in Palm Springs, California, Lisa Middleton won a seat on the town’s city council. Her historic win was secured with 30 percent of the vote and makes her the first openly transgender candidate elected to a non-judicial office in the state’s history.
Middleton, 65, came out as transgender in 1995 and retired to the town with her wife in 2010. Earlier in the week, she said: “If transgender people are being attacked, you need transgender voices to respond to those attacks.”