Trans woman Danica Roem beat her anti-trans opponent by focusing on … roads. Seriously.

“To every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever seen stigmatized, who’s ever been the misfit, who’s ever been the child in the corner, who’s ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own … this one’s for you, ” said Virginia delegate-elect Danica Roem during a fiery victory speech on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Roem is a transgender woman, but her gender identity is secondary to the main issue she campaigned on: fixing Route 28.

“That’s why I get in this race, because I’m fed up with the frickin’ road over in my home town, ” she said to laughter and applause during the course of its speech, calling on the country legislature to fixing existing problems rather than making new ones.

Roem’s election constructs her the first out transgender person who will be elected and seated in a state legislature. Photo by Danica Roem for Delegate.

Roem used her speech to highlight the importance of concentrates on unifying issues like infrastructure, ensuring educators get fair pay, working to expand access to health care, and observing cost-effective solutions to local problems.

“This is the important stuff, ” she told the crowd. “We can’t get lost in discrimination. We can’t get lost in BS. We can’t get lost tearing each other down.”

It’s that opinion, that it’s the government’s undertaking to address issues of infrastructure and public health, that defined her apart from her adversary, incumbent candidate Bob Marshall. Marshall, the self-described “chief homophobe” of Virginia, is perhaps best known for introducing a so-called “bathroom bill” designed to discriminate against trans people. Considering a politician so obsessed with his anti-LGBTQ opinions have his seat won out from under him by a trans woman just feelings … symbolic.

Oh yeah, did I mention Roem is also a singer in a heavy metal band?

Mailers sent out by her opponent’s campaign before the election warned that “[ His] defeat would signal that holding these[ anti-LGBTQ] principles is a detriment to being elected.”

Hopefully, Marshall is right about that. The people who represent us in government should represent all of us, and his defeat demonstrates many voters aren’t willing to put up with elected officials who don’t consider things that way.

In a recent interview on a right-wing radio display, Marshall presented his disdain for Roem and trans people, generally đŸ˜› TAGEND

“It is not a civil right to masquerade your fantasies as reality. … I’ve drawn a line. I’m not leaving it, because I don’t construct the laws of nature but I believe I understand them, at least at this fundamental level. I never flunked biology, so I’m not going to call a human a woman, period.”

If a candidate wants to run on a platform of legislating trans people out of public existence or thinks it’s OK accuse their political opponents of defying the laws of nature, that should be detrimental to their odds of being elected.

We need more candidates like Roem whose political aspirations revolve around how best to help their constituents.

This country belongs to all of us. As Roem said in her victory speech( which is excellent, and you should watch it below) with all the intensity of a seasoned legislator:

“No matter what you look like, where you come from, how you venerate, who you love, how you identify — and yeah, how you rock — that if you have good public policy ideas and you’re well qualified for office, bring those ideas to the table because this is your America too.”

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Just as it’s not enough for Democrats to simply run on being not-Trump, perhaps this is a sign that it’s not sufficient for Republicans to bank on voters hating the same groups as them. During the 2016 election, then-North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory operated hard on the state’s anti-trans bathroom bill only to come up short; Marshall did the same in his race against Roem.

Maybe, simply maybe, empathy is winning out, and maybe people are coming to understand that the purpose of government isn’t to ascertain who to oppress, but how to help lift us all.

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