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Danica Roem Becomes First Transgender Person Elected to Virginia State Senate

Roem’s GOP opponent had campaigned on the anti-LGBTQ ideals espoused by Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin.

Danica Roem speaks onstage during TLC's Give A Little Awards 2019 on October 2, 2019, in New York City.

Democratic state delegate Danica Roem, who won a Virginia Senate election on Tuesday, will become the first openly transgender person to serve in the state Senate once she is sworn into her post in January, and the second trans person to serve in a state Senate seat anywhere in the U.S.

Roem, 39, made history six years ago by winning her House of Delegates seat, becoming the first openly transgender person in the U.S. to win a state legislative election. She served in that position for three terms before deciding to run for the Senate this year.

Senate District 30 includes the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park, and the western portion of Prince William County. According to the most recent election count, Roem won with 51.52 percent of the vote; her opponent, Republican Bill Woolf, received 48.18 percent of the vote.

Senator-elect Roem’s win helped secure Democrats’ hold on the state Senate, upsetting Republicans in the state who had hoped to win that chamber and enact the right-wing agenda of Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R). Democrats also flipped control of the House of Delegates on Tuesday, and will be in total control of the state legislature starting early next year.

In an election victory statement on X, Roem expressed gratitude to the people of the 30th Senate district. “The voters have shown they want a leader who will prioritize fixing roads, feeding kids, and protecting our land instead of stigmatizing trans kids and taking away our civil rights.”

She added:

For the last six years I’ve focused on serving my constituents and our community, no matter what they look like, where they come from, how they worship if they do, or who they love. It’s those principles that have guided every vote I’ve taken, every Bill I carried and every stance I’ve taken, and they are principles I’ll carry with me into the state Senate.

Roem’s Republican opponent, a former Fairfax County police officer, centered his campaign on crime and so-called “parents’ rights” issues, which Republicans across the country have used as a means to attack transgender students’ rights in recent years. During his campaign, Woolf went after Roem for her belief that trans student-athletes should be able to compete on sports teams that correspond with their gender; Woolf, who was backed by Youngkin, openly supported the governor’s calls for bans on trans student athletes.

In an interview with The Hill that was published before the election, Roem rebuked Woolf’s views. “You attack trans kids in my district at your own political peril,” she warned him.

LGBTQ advocates celebrated Roem’s win on Tuesday. Her victory over Woolf “serves as a deafening rebuke to bigots who continue to try and silence the LGBTQ+ community and trans people in particular,” Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, said in a statement.

“Danica faced an unprecedented deluge of anti-trans hate on the campaign trail, but she was not phased nor distracted,” Parker added.

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