Danica Roem, a Virginia Delegate, has once again made political history by securing a seat in the state Senate in a recent election. This remarkable victory establishes her as the first openly transgender individual to be elected to Virginia’s upper chamber and the second transgender person to be elected to any state Senate in the United States, following Delaware’s Sarah McBride’s election in 2020.
Roem, a Democrat, triumphed over her Republican opponent, Bill Woolf, with a lead of more than 3 percentage points. Woolf, a former Fairfax County police officer, had received an endorsement from the state’s Republican governor, Glenn Youngkin.
In response to her victory, Roem expressed her gratitude, stating in a social media post on Tuesday, “I’m grateful the people of Virginia’s 30th Senate district elected me to continue representing my lifelong home of western Prince William County and greater Manassas.” She emphasized the voters’ desire for a leader who prioritizes issues such as road infrastructure, child welfare, and environmental protection over stigmatizing transgender youth or infringing on civil rights.
Danica Roem, a 39-year-old former journalist, initially entered the political arena six years ago, becoming the first openly transgender person to be elected and seated in a state legislature. In a landmark victory, she defeated one of Virginia’s longest-serving and socially conservative lawmakers.
Annise Parker, President and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, a national organization dedicated to promoting the election of LGBTQ individuals to public office, hailed Roem’s win as a powerful response to those who seek to silence the LGBTQ+ community and transgender people. Parker emphasized Roem’s unwavering commitment to her constituents and their real concerns, from infrastructure improvement to ensuring access to food for families in Virginia.
In a recent article published in The Advocate, Roem highlighted the criticism she faced from opponents and their supporters regarding her support for transgender student-athletes and alleged failure to protect women’s sports. However, her resounding electoral success underscores the support she enjoys among her constituents.
Narissa Rahaman, the Executive Director of Equality Virginia, a statewide LGBTQ advocacy group, celebrated Roem’s historic victory, describing it as both groundbreaking and encouraging for the future of the commonwealth. Rahaman pointed out that Roem’s win underscores the ineffectiveness of anti-LGBTQ+ policies and personal attacks in Virginia. Throughout her political career, Roem has consistently placed the needs of her constituents first, displaying dedication, effectiveness, and strong leadership.
Roem’s triumph was not the sole success story for LGBTQ Virginians during this election. According to the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, eight other queer candidates secured legislative seats in the state, including three who were not incumbents.
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This victory in Virginia is part of a broader “rainbow wave” in LGBTQ+ representation this year, as reported by the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund. The organization has documented over 200 victories for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer candidates, with at least 148 of these wins occurring during this election cycle.