2017: The year of the Trans candidate

Danica Roem
Danica Roem, won in Virginia

Transgender candidates across the nation won historic races in November — including Danica Roem, who will become the first openly trans person to win and serve in a state legislature. At least four trans candidates won their state and local elections. This almost doubles the number of trans elected officials in the country and makes 2017 the year of the trans candidate.

“Hostile political forces at every level of government are targeting the trans community with legislation and policies that deny their equality,” said Aisha C. Moodie-Mills, President & CEO of Victory Fund. “Tonight was about fighting back — an unprecedented number of brilliant trans candidates asking for the votes of tens of thousands of Americans, and getting them. They are victorious because they focused on the local issues that matter most to their constituents — better schools, improved transportation and civil rights for all people.”

LGBT advocates stress it is also an undeniably historic year for the LGBT movement. “It moves the needle on what is possible for a trans leader who aspires to run for office and make positive change.“ said Moodie-Mills. “Now we have more trans voices in the halls of power, and 2017 will be remembered as the year of the trans candidate.”

The Victory Fund and other LGBT political groups invested heavily in its trans endorsed candidates this year. Special attention went to Virginia’s Danica Roem. As a Virginia House of Delegates candidate, she is the first out transgender person to win and serve in a state legislature in the United States.

Danica Roem, Virginia House of Delegates, District 13: Her victory at the polls is imbued with symbolism. She defeated 25-year incumbent Bob Marshall. Marshall is one of the most anti-LGBT state legislators in the nation and the author of the anti-trans bathroom bill in Virginia. Marshall is a 25-year incumbent who proudly describes himself as “chief homophobe” of the Virginia state legislature.

Andrea Jenkins, Minneapolis City Council, Ward 8: Andrea is the first openly trans woman ever elected to the city council of a major U.S. city, and will be the only openly trans person of color currently serving in elected office anywhere in the nation. Andrea was featured at a Victory Fund national event in May and thousands of dollars were bundled on her behalf.

Lisa Middleton, Palm Springs City Council (CA): Lisa is the first openly trans person to win a legislative seat in the state of California. She is a former Victory Institute Empowerment Fellow and a graduate of Victory Institute’s Candidate & Campaign Training — a four day intensive training simulation aimed at building the skills necessary to run for office.

Tyler Titus, Erie School Board (PA): Tyler is the first openly trans person ever elected in Pennsylvania. Victory Fund provided national exposure to Tyler’s race, securing articles in the Daily Beast and other publications.