Danica Roem makes history as Virginia’s first transgender state senator

Danica Roem smiling on the stage of an event.

The US state of Virginia has elected Danica Roem as its first transgender state senator.

Danica Roem beat former Fairfax County detective turned Republican hopeful Bill Woolf on Tuesday (7 November) with a reported 52 per cent of the vote to 48 per cent.

The win is historic for Virginia, with Roem becoming the first out transgender person elected to a state senate anywhere in the south. Fellow Democrat, Delaware’s Sarah McBride, become the first transgender state senator to be elected in the US in 2020.

“To the people of western Prince William County, the city of Manassas Park and the city of Manassas, I’m so grateful to continue serving my life-long home community, now in the state senate,” Roem said in a post.

Rival Woolf, who was endorsed by notoriously right-wing Republican Glenn Youngkin, used his campaign to advocate for the exclusion of trans people from competitive sport, which Roem said contributed to his downfall.

“You attack trans kids in my district at your own political peril,” Roem told The Hill.

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“I’m known nationally for being trans, I’ve never run away from that,” she continued. “At the same time, locally, I got your kids fed, I got your commute fixed.”

LGBTQ+ Victory Fund chief executive and president, Annise Parker, congratulated Roem on her victory, saying that the politician had not been “not fazed [or] distracted” by the anti-trans attacks against her from Republicans.

“She made LGBTQ+ history tonight because she put constituents first, speaking to the real issues that impact children and their families in Virginia, from fixing roads to ensuring kids and families have food on the table.

“Her win tonight will make national headlines and serves as a deafening rebuke to bigots who continue to try silence the LGBTQ+ community, and trans people in particular,” Parker went on to say.

Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson told The Hill: “This is historic for Danica, and this is historic for Virginia.

“But I think for every queer person, for every trans person, for every person of colour, for anyone [who’s] been at the margins, it is historic for all of the gains that we’re seeing happen.”

This isn’t the first time Roem has made political history in the US. In 2017, she became the first out trans person to win and serve in a US state legislature when she was elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates. 

The Human Rights Campaign endorsed her election run at the time, saying she was “breaking down barriers while building bridges.”

Speaking about her latest victory, the new state senator said: “To every person who knocked [on] doors, made phone calls, donated money, or helped us in any way to win tonight: thank you.

“Our campaigns have always been a coalition of people who come together to make a difference in our community, and I’ll always be grateful for each and every person who stepped up.”