Transgender Americans Win Historic Victories from Coast to Coast on Election Night 2017November 8, 2017 • 12:28 pm
WASHINGTON – Transgender Americans won historic races in Virginia, Minnesota, Georgia, and California last night — delivering a rebuke not just to President Donald Trump’s anti-LGBTQ agenda, but to state lawmakers who have doggedly pursued anti-transgender legislation in recent years.
In Virginia, Danica Roem unseated 13-term delegate Bob Marshall by nearly 10 points. When she takes office, Roem will be the first openly transgender person to win an election and be seated in a state house. Roem’s victory is particularly sweet because her opponent made homophobia and transphobia a hallmark not just of the race, but of his entire career as an elected official. Marshall is the author of some of the most anti-LGBTQ bills in Virginia in recent years, and during the election he refused to debate Roem or even use her proper pronouns.
In Minneapolis, Andrea Jenkins won a decisive victory for a seat on the City Council – making her the first openly black transgender woman to win elected office in the United States. Also in Minneapolis, Phillipe Cunningham is locked in a close race with City Council President Barbara Johnson. Should Cunningham win, he would be the first out black transgender man to be elected to office.
“One year ago, so many Americans woke up feeling scared and unsure about what the future would hold. Today, LGBTQ people – and particularly transgender Americans – are waking up feeling empowered and excited for the work ahead of us,” said Kasey Suffredini, Freedom for All Americans’ Acting CEO & President of Strategy. “From coast to coast, Americans rejected divisive and discriminatory rhetoric about what it means to be transgender. Instead, they looked at transgender candidates as their fellow neighbors, they listened to their proposals for improving local communities, and they voted accordingly. As more transgender people attain elected office, our communities will become fairer, safer, and more equitable places to live and work.”
There were milestone victories in Georgia and California, as well. In Georgia, Stephe Koontz – a small business owner who is a transgender woman – won a spot on the Doraville City Council. The victory makes her the first openly transgender person to ever win an election in the city, and the only openly transgender person to hold elected office in Georgia at the moment. In California, Lisa Middleton won a historic victory to the Palm Springs City Council. Middleton is the first openly transgender person to win a non-judicial elected office in California.
The election results will undoubtedly increase visibility for transgender Americans, particularly in the communities where candidates won. Increased visibility and a greater understanding of what it means to be transgender and how discrimination impacts real Americans on a daily basis is central to our efforts to advance nondiscrimination nationwide. Freedom for All Americans is committed to strengthening public education efforts through our Transgender Freedom Project, and to sharing stories of discrimination via American Voices for Freedom.
Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.