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Virginia elects Danica Roem, its first openly transgender state legislator

She won a seat in the House of Delegates against a politician who embraced an anti-LGBTQ agenda.

AP Photo/Steve Helber, File
Jen Kirby is a senior foreign and national security reporter at Vox, where she covers global instability.

A Virginia politician made history Tuesday night, becoming the first openly transgender person to be elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. Danica Roem, 32, defeated Republican incumbent Robert Marshall in the 13th District.

Roem, a journalist, won a surprise victory in the Democratic primary in June. She took on the ultra-conservative Marshall, who has been in office for more than 20 years and who has taken anti-LGBTQ stances. For instance, he proposed the state’s (ultimately failed) “bathroom bill” that would have required transgender people to use the public restroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate.

Roem overcame her opponent’s brutal personal attacks, making her historic victory extra sweet. And it’s adding to what’s looking like powerhouse Democratic showing in the state with Ralph Northam’s win over Ed Gillespie.

Correction: This article originally mischaracterized Roem’s victory. She is the first openly transgender woman elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

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