Update: Danica Roem won the Democratic primary on Tuesday, putting in her in the running for a seat at the Virginia House of Delegates. If she wins, Roem would become the first out transgender legislator in the state's general assembly.
This story was originally published on June 13, 2017.
Danica Roem could soon become the first trans person to serve in Virginia's General Assembly, Rewire reports. But to get the seat, she'll have to beat out a sponsor of one of the country's harshest bathroom bills.
On January 3, Republican Delegate Bob Marshall proposed a bill that would limit trans people's bathroom access even more than North Carolina's infamous bathroom bill. In addition to prohibiting people from using a bathroom that doesn't match their birth certificate in all government buildings, the "Physical Privacy Act" required schools to out trans kids to their parents. Roem announced that she'd be running for the General Assembly on the same day Marshall proposed the bill, which was ultimately killed.
Roem is currently in the Democratic primary race for the General Assembly candidacy, and if she wins, she'll run against Marshall. As a former reporter, she says she understands the inner workings of local government. In fact, she's covered many stories involving Marshall. Another fun fact: She sings in a metal band.
If elected, Roem hopes to improve healthcare for trans people in the state. Being unable to get her Virginia group insurance plan to cover her hormone therapy made her see how necessary this is. "They’re basically saying that transition-related care is cosmetic, that it’s optional, that it doesn’t count — and that’s not OK," she told Teen Vogue. "LGBTQ health care is health care. It is not a want, it is a need." She's also been calling for the local school board to add gender identity and sexual orientation protections to its anti-discrimination policies. Beyond trans issues, she plans to help curb the state's traffic problem and support local business and schools.
The LGBTQ organization the Victory Fund, which supports Roem, told NBC Out there are "more transgender people running this cycle than almost all other cycles combined."
"There is no reason why a transgender person should feel disqualified from office because of who they are," Roem told NBC Out. "Transgender people have as much right to bring their public policy ideas to the table as much as anyone else."