Transgender candidates rack up wins in first U.S. elections of Trump presidency

Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person to win a state legislative seat .
NEW YORK (Thomson Reuters Foundation)

Transgender political candidates scored wins in the first U.S. elections since Donald Trump became president, a sign of their growing acceptance in parts of the country, experts said on Wednesday.

Five transgender candidates were victorious, among them a woman who won a heated race for state legislature in Virginia, the highest elected office ever for a transgender candidate, experts said.

The results came in the first nationwide elections since Trump, a Republican, was elected last year.

The election results show the risk of “moving too far to the right,” said Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public Affairs at Princeton University in New Jersey.

“The nation has clearly changed in its attitudes,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It’s more evident that on many issues that socially and culturally the nation has become very liberalized.”

At least nine transgender candidates ran for office, with five winning, three losing and one race undecided. It brings the number of openly transgender elected officials to 11 from six, experts said.

The winner in Virginia was journalist Danica Roem, the first openly transgender person to win a state legislative seat, said the Victory Fund, which supports LGBT candidates and had endorsed eight candidates including Roem.

Roem unseated a 25-year conservative incumbent who had fought a failed effort to limit bathroom access for transgender people, called himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe” and used male pronouns to refer to her on the campaign trail.

Other transgender winners were women voted onto city councils in Minneapolis, Doraville, Georgia and Palm Springs, California and a man elected to a Pennsylvania school board.

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