Society is beginning to evolve – and this evolution is just the beginning of our shift in politics. Voters elected several openly transgender legislators into positions of power on Tuesday, ranging from City Council members to school board members to the House of Delegates.
As if the Trump administration was not already up in arms about Democrats winning elected positions, transgender Americans taking on this role is a whole new concept for them. These new electees are here to make a stand and make a difference with their roles.
Eight transgender Americans made a difference in a matter of hours as officials counted votes one by one.
The names to be written in history are as follows: Andrea Jenkins of Minnesota is now a City Council member; Danica Roem of Virginia is now in the House of Delegates; New Hampshire elected Gerri Cannon to the Somersworth School Board; Lisa Middleton of California is now part of the Palm Springs City Council; Stephe Koontz of Georgia is part of the Doraville City Council; Pennsylvania elected Tyler Titus to the Erie School Board; Phillipe Cunningham of Minnesota is now in the to Minneapolis City Council; and Raven Matherne of Connecticut is now on the Board of Representatives.
“These candidates represent not only regional voters, but the 1.4 million transgender Americans across the country, according to the Human Rights Campaign.
Among these eight comes a disruption within Virginia, as Danica Roem has become the state’s new representative “Roem defeated incumbent Republican Bob Marshall by almost 10 percentage points” according to Bustle Magazine. “Marshall has been representing the district in Virginia’s General Assembly for 25 years or 11 terms.”
For 25 years, the state of Virginia has been in the same governmental mindset of one man. Now, with Roem as the winning candidate, there’s hope that she will bring change, for she has learned through her previous experiences about what does and does not work within governmental life.
Before taking this step in her life, Roem was a journalist. She worked on stories about the government and “credits her job for teaching her about ‘what works and what doesn’t in government,’ as she explained on Ballotpedia survey,” according to Bustle. But that is not all that she has to offer. Within plenty of interviews, she persevered through good weather, bad weather, streets, and forests to reach voters and explain who she is as a legislator – their legislator.
Alongside Roem stands the first openly transgender woman of color, Andrea Jenkins - candidate winn for Minneapolis City Council.
“It’s more than just having a seat at the table. It’s having a seat at the table and being able to speak to power. It’s about being present, and people knowing you will speak out against injustices,” Jenkins said in her interview with Twin Cities Daily Planet.
Standing up against injustices is what Jenkins has done for as long as she can remember. In her interview, she recalls her early memories of standing up for what she believes in.
She told Twin Cities that it “was when she was a high-schooler in Chicago, where she grew up.” She had orchestrated a walk-out for her school during Black History Week. Yes, there was once a time when it was only a week long.
A few of the students wanted to put on an assembly to take pride in their heritage, but when asking for permission from the principle he shut it down immediately.
The spark to fight for justice and to stand up against others who turned a blind eye was lit in Jenkins and she never looked back.
These eight people have changed the course of history and started a new path in which we can hope will continue to grow.
Hopefully, not just through political action, but through everyday life. No matter who you are, you have every right to be you and to succeed.