The holidays are coming and I would love to make this a happy, feel good editorial and now I can, because at election time 2017, the Democrats trounced the Republican Party and showed up where it counts the most, at the polls. This is just the breath of fresh air the Democratic Party needed, and just like that, we are revived.
This election is reminiscent of the last Presidential election, where everyone was shocked. But this time there is shock because not only does New Jersey get to replace one of the most disliked governors in the history of ever, with democrat Phil Murphy, but we also get a win for African Americans with lieutenant governor Sheila Oliver, who is the state’s first black lieutenant governor. She will be the second highest-ranking official in the State of New Jersey.
While we are fighting for change, we have a President who released a memo directing the Defense Department to develop a plan to discharge transgender military service members, and he continues this bigotry every chance he gets. But on Election Day, the people showed up and let the President know that they are not going to be ruled by his bigotry towards anyone.
The Transgender community had major wins starting in the state of Virginia. They elected the first openly transgender state lawmaker, Danica Roem, into the commonwealth’s House of Delegates. Ms. Roem beat out republican Bob Marshall, who introduced the Virginia “bathroom bill” that would prohibit transgender students from using the bathroom of their choice. And, just like that, victory is ours! Read more about this on page 17 (2017: The Year of the Trans Candidate).
But it didn’t end there; the people of Minneapolis elected the first African American transgender woman, Andrea Jenkins to their city council. Ms. Jenkins, is the first openly transgender person of color to be elected to office in the United States. Winning also traveled across the country to the West Coast with Seattle electing their first lesbian mayor, Jenny Durkan, who is also the first woman to hold this office since the 1920’s, and Zachary DeWoolf became Seattle’s first openly gay school board member.
And if that wasn’t enough winning for you, Tyler Titus, a candidate for Erie School Board became the first openly transgender person to be elected in nearby Pennsylvania. It was a stellar night for the transgender community who has been underrepresented in American politics.
I take great pleasure in imagining what the President was thinking while sitting in South Korea watching the walls tumble down.
These are major wins, but we cannot stop here. There are many actions we can take to stand by our LGBT brothers and sisters. At transequality.org, they have set up an easy way for you to write or call your senators and representatives. While you are busy writing that letter, or making that phone call, know that we need everyone in our community to stand up and fight for LGBT rights, whether it be making phone calls or writing letters. Resistance is what makes the difference.