Olivia Hill sworn in as Tennessee’s first-ever transgender elected representative

Olivia Hill speaking to an unpictured person.

Tennessee has made LGBTQ+ history after the state’s first transgender elected representative, Olivia Hill, was sworn into office.

Nashville’s Metro councillor, Olivia Hill, joined guests at The Hermitage Hotel’s ballroom to witness the historic swearing-in ceremony on Monday (2 October).

“I am elated,” she said. “For every trans kid in the state of Tennessee who has felt discomfort or that they didn’t belong… we are valid.”

Hill secured one of the five at-large seats on the council with 12.9 per cent of the vote during run-off elections last week.

The win was historic in more ways than one, with all five-at-large council seats being won by women for the first time.

“Representation is everything,” Hill said. “I’ve been approached by so many mums and dads and teachers and leaders who have thanked me for running because now a lot of the trans community has something to see.”

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Born and raised in Nashville, Hill moved into local politics after retiring from her position at a Vanderbilt University power plant, following a legal suit over workplace discrimination.

The ceremony was an incredibly important one for her personally because a member of her family came out to support her for the first time since she came out as transgender.

“I paid a heavy price for my transition and I’ve lost most of my family, my friends, my career and so many people who stand behind me,” she said. “But my cousin, Missy, who’s almost like my sister… flew here from Texas to be with us tonight.

“For the very first time since I transitioned, I stand before you to celebrate something special with my family present.

“I ran this race as a qualified human. I didn’t run this race as a trans woman, I didn’t run this race as the first trans woman or as a woman at all. I only ran this race to showcase my experience and for a right to sit at the table.”