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Trans candidate discusses historic Virginia victory
by Matt Simonette

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Danica Roem, who on Nov. 7 won an election to become the Commonwealth of Virginia's—and the nation's—first transgender state legislator elected as an out candidate ( a previous transgender elected official, Althea Garrison, had been outed while in office ), spoke with national press on Nov. 10 about her historic win.

Roem, who will soon represent the House of Delegates' 13th District, soundly defeated incumbent Delegate Robert Marshall, who proudly called himself the state's "chief homophobe" and had filed an anti-transgender bathroom bill. But the delegate-elect, who's been both an investigative journalist and a heavy metal musician, centered her campaign around infrastructure and traffic-management, among other local quality-of-life issues.

She described herself as a candidate with both a "progressive heart" and "centrist sensibilities."

"What's so nice about infrastructure is that you're removing ideology," Roem said. "It's just basic problem-solving."

A central issue in Roem's campaign was traffic along a central artery in her district, an issue that now, by virtue of the publicity around her election, has made national news. "We've now made Route 28 world-famous," she said.

Roem did reiterate her commitment to LGBT issues in the conference, however, especially as they pertained to healthcare. She said she would work on ensuring that transgender Virginians have sufficient access to hormone therapies or other treatments, and that gay men would be able to access PrEP, for example.

"LGBTQ healthcare is healthcare," she explained. "… It is not a want, it is a need."

She has had no contact with Marshall after the election. Though the incumbent never blunted his hostility towards her or the LGBT community, Roem said that she is doing her best to remain gracious.

"The fact of the matter is, once Joe Biden called me, my job as delegate begins," she added, noting that Marshall will soon be "a constituent of the 13th District. The voters did not elect me to be rude. They elected me to get the job done."

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