On Tuesday, among the many Democratic victories in Virginia, a woman was elected in the state’s 13th district. Danica Roem is a stepmom active in her child’s school board. She is an award winning journalist and a metal vocalist. She will also be the first openly trans person to win a seat in a state legislature in America and serve her term.
However, Danica insisted on running on local politics, not her gender identity. Her main campaign issue was the fact that Virginia Route 28, one of the busiest roads in Northern Virginia and a major traffic artery, is also one of the most congested roads in Northern Virginia. With her investigative experience, she is aware of the issues concerning her now constituents (including Bob Marshall, the incumbent she unseated), and she knows that they deserve the best she can give.
Bob Marshall, the defeated 13-term incumbent of the 13th district, has called himself “Virginia’s Chief homophobe.” He was the author of Virginia’s so-called ‘bathroom bill’, which which would have forced people to use the restrooms designated for their gender as assigned at birth, no matter their current gender identity or legal gender status. These transphobic ‘bathroom bills’ became a national lightning rod for the political debate over trans rights. As with VA Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, Marshall’s campaign reflected a calculated, Trumpian bigotry intended to inflame the GOP base. While he denies that he made Danica’s transition a campaign issue, Marshall sent out fliers misgendering Roem and accusing her of trying to corrupt children with education on ‘transgenderism’— a term that, according to GLAAD, is used to try to reduce people’s self expression to a condition, and thereby dehumanize them. When asked, the Virginia Republican party insisted that the mailers were not an attack on Danica, but also refused to correct them to be accurate. Marshall even refused to debate his opponent. Now that he has lost his seat in Virginia’s state government, the 13th district might finally get some relief along Rt 28, and from all politicians who traffic in hate.