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Religious Tolerance logo

Transgender news

2017-NOV: The first openly transgender
candidate is elected to the Virginia House:

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On 2017-NOV-07, Danica Roem (D), 33, was elected as a Democrat for the 13th district in the Virginia House of Delegates against incumbent Bob Marshall (R). 73. The 13th district is located immediately west of Washington, DC.

Roem is a transgender individual. She was identified at birth as a male and publicly started her gender transition to female in 2012. During 2013, she began hormone replacement therapy, and publicly revealed her new gender identity. She legally changed her name from "Dan" to "Danica" in 2015. 3

She is believed to be the first transgender state lawmaker to be elected in the U.S.

Her campaign was built around traffic problems in the district, improving the job situation, and raising the salaries of teachers.

Part of her motivation for seeking office is to help support fellow cisgender persons. She said:

"The message that I can succeed because of my gender, not despite it -- because of who I am without being afraid of who I am -- is a human message. It's something that even if you are cisgender -- but you have some reason that you've been singled out in your life, you have some reason that you've been stigmatized in your life, you've had some reason when you've been cornered in your life for being yourself -- you can look at me and say, ?If she can do this, so can I'." 6

The term "cisgender" refers to the approximately 99.4% of adults whose current gender identity matches their birth-identified gender.

She was a journalist working for the the Gainesville Times, but quit to devote full time to the campaign. She is also the co-founder and lead singer of the metal band Cab Ride Home, and a stepmother to her boyfriend's child. 3

Some columnists referred to this as the political "Race of the Year."

Her main opposition was Bob Marshall, a conservative Republican who has been active in politics for 26 years. He had been elected 13 times in the VA House. He is strongly pro-life, opposed to marriage equality, and once sponsored a state constitutional amendment to prohibit gay marriages. He picked up the nickname "Bigot Bob" because of his authorship of an unsuccessful "bathroom bill." If it had become law, it would have segregated public washrooms in government buildings by people's birth-identified gender. It would have required Ms. Roem to use men's washrooms, with the potential of setting off a disturbance each time. He has supported bills requiring women who were seeking an abortion to undergo an ultrasound exam. He is opposed to allowing transgender persons to enlist in the military, and has referred to the widespread pornography on the Internet as a public health hazard. 1

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Antonio Olivo, writing for the Washington Post, said that Marshall, being:

"... wary of providing more ammunition to his opponent, has limited his public exposure during his reelection bid, preferring to interact with voters in small, private settings or through phone calls. He won’t allow reporters to accompany him while canvassing for votes and frequently asks that questions be emailed to him so he can reply with prepared remarks." 5

Marshall referred to Roem as:

"... a guy who thinks he’s a girl who wears a dress. ... a lot of people don’t know [this] ... they think [that Roem] is an odd-looking woman." 2

Throughout the campaign, he referred to his competitor as "he."

According to Wikipedia:

"In September 2017, Roem posted a web video 'Just Who I Am' where she pushes back against her opponent's refusal to debate her or to refer to her as a woman. She says, 'There are millions of transgender people in the country, and we all deserve representation in government.'" 7

Her estimate of the number of transgender persons appears to be valid. The population of the U.S. during 2016 was estimated at 323 million. About 0.6% (1.9 million) identify themselves as transgender or will do so later in their life.

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About the race:

During 2017-OCT, Roem's campaign received reports that residents of her district were receiving anti-transgender robocalls. Roem said the calls were being made by the American Principles Project, which has circulated a petition to 'Stop Transgender Medical Experimentation on Children'." 9 They are referring to a recent treatment for transgender children who exhibit a settled transgender awareness. Some are being given puberty-blocking drugs in order to allow them to mature for a few years without transitioning through puberty. The drugs prevent permanent bodily changes from ocurring -- such as a protruding "Adam's Apple," and a deepening voice in Male to Female (MTF) transgender persons who were identified as male at birth, like Ms. Roem. The drugs allow transgender children to reach an age where they are mature enough to decide on whether to take hormone medication and whether to go through gender confirmation surgery before irreversable changes occur to their appearance.

The Project conducted a small poll in the District to predict the winner in the election. It only involved 341 likely voters and thus its margin of error is large at ±5 percent. They have not pubished the results of their poll, or indicate who is leading. However, they did state that it is "close." 8

Aisha Moodie-Mills is the president of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund. She commented on the race:

"We have a groundbreaking opportunity to make. ... Roem is the first state legislator to win [the primary] as an 'out' trans candidate. ... [This] is a critical first step to electing more trans people who can ... fight back against anti-equality efforts. This is an opportunity for us in the LGBTQ community to push back. ... LBTQ leaders … are leading the resistance. ... We’re going to make sure that we get rid of people who do our community harm." 1

In an article on Life Site News, author Fr. Mark Hodges referred to Danica Roem to as a male with the first name of "Daniel." 1

Roem was interviewed by Larry O’Connor on radio station station WMAL in Washington DC. She said:

"It’s time for us to take out those parts of our state code that still make us a regressive place."

She promotes education about transgender topics in public schools, starting with kindergarten.

She openly discussed being transgender in a campaign ad:


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Danica Roem was elected:


By 9 PM on election day, votes had been counted from 19 out of 20 precicts. Danica Roem (D) defeated Robert Marshall by a comfortable margin. The vote was 54.6% to 45.4%.

When she is sworn in as a Delegate, she will become the first openly transgender state legislator to be elected in the U.S. In 1992, Althea Garrison was the first transgender person to actually be elected. She served one term in the Massachusetts House, but was not publically known to be transgender during her campaign.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Fr. Mark Hodges, "Liberals pouring money into transgender activist’s campaign against conservative lawmaker," Life Site News, 2017-NOV-01, at:
  2. "Transgender Candidate Targets Kindergartens, GOP Legislator," Breibart, 2017-OCT-29, at:
  3. "Five things to know about Democrat Danica Roem," Washington Post, 2017-OCT-20, at:
  4. Antonio Olivo, "This lawmaker won’t debate his Democratic challenger. He says her supporters would call him a bigot," Washington Post, 2017-SEP-26, at:
  5. Rebecca Nelson, "Inside Danica Roem's Historic Campaign as a Transgender Woman in Trump's America," Cosmopolitan, 2017-SEP-14, at:
  6. "Danica Roem," Wikipedia, as on 2017-OCT-30, at:
  7. Barbra Casbar Siperstein,"Terrific Transgender Candidates," Huffington Post, 2017-JUN-20, at:
  8. "PRESS RELEASE: New VA-13 Poll: Transgender Issues Are “Toxic” For Democrats," American Principles Project, 2017-OCT-16, at:
  10. "First openly transgender state lawmaker elected in Virginia," You Tube, 2017-NOV-07, at:

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Copyright 2017 © Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted in draft form on: 2017-NOV-02.
Latest update: 2018-SEP-15.

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