Name: Danica Roem, 33
Who She Is: Journalist and Democratic legislator
What She Did: In 2017, Roem made history by becoming the first transgender person elected to a state legislature by winning a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.
I was asked Tuesday night about what gives me hope during dark times.
In the face of abject horror as personified by this poor child, so many people across America are responding by doing something positive and helpful.#TakeAction#FlipTheScript#BeTheChange#MakeADifference https://t.co/Ix3PmpiAb5
— Danica Roem (@pwcdanica) June 20, 2018
Why We’re Proud: In the transphobic Trump era, it takes courage and smarts to stand against forces of bigotry and win an election in a “purple” state. After a decade as a journalist, Roem entered the political arena in 2016 after getting recruited by the Virginia Democratic House Caucus. Roem overcame terrible transphobia during the campaign, with one conversion therapy “expert” going so far as to opine that the death of Roem’s father by suicide caused her to become transgender.
Roem refused to back down. She challenged longtime incumbent Bob Marshall, who attacked Roem (and the entire trans community) by repeatedly referring to her as “he.” Fliers distributed by Marshall’s campaign did the same, as did robocalls to voters in her district. In response, Roem released the video “Just Who I Am,” discussing her political views, her transition, and the need for transgender representation in government.
Her poise paid off–Roem won the election handily with 53% of the vote to Marshall’s 45%.
In disquieting times, bold candidates like Danica Roem five us hope for the future. Legions of LGBTQ people are running for office or contemplating it, thanks in part to her inspiration. As for Danica herself, the sky’s the limit.
Next stop, Virginia Governor Roem?