US: Oklahoma trans policewoman advances in run for state House

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An Oklahoma transgender policewoman has advanced her run for the state’s House of Representatives, surviving tough a Democratic primary.

Paula Sophia, who previously served in the army, joined the Oklahoma City Police Department in 1992, and was at the centre of a high-profile legal battle with the force in 2001 after transitioning to female.

She retired from the force in April to dedicate herself full-time to campaigning for the Democratic nomination.

Sophia survived the first round of a Democratic primary last night, and will face off against businessman and former pastor Jason Dunnington in the August 26 run-off election.

She managed to win 23.6% of the vote, ahead of Mark Faulk and John Gibbons, on 19.4% and 16.4% respectively, but behind Dunnington, on 40.5%.

There is no Republican running in Oklahoma House District 88, meaning that if Sophia can win in the August run-off, she could be the first openly trans member of state congress.

She said previously: “I was a community oriented police officer, now I’m going to be a community oriented legislature.

“I’ve been passionate throughout my entire career in law enforcement about helping people in their day to day lives.

“I have a deep concern about peace and justice, about respecting the dignity of every human being and I still deeply believe in those issues.

“People will talk, you know… I’m not worried about it.”

In Maryland, trans activist Dana Beyer, who was challenging gay Democratic incumbent Rich Madaleno in a primary, lost out last night.