Virginia Pride excited about historic election of transgender woman

Updated: Nov. 8, 2017 at 3:07 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond's LBGT community is excited about the historic election of the first openly transgender person in a U.S. statehouse.

Danica Roem, 33, found out Tuesday she is the new leader for Virginia's 13th district, defeating 13-term incumbent Republican Bob Marshall.

"To every person who's ever been singled out, who's ever been stigmatized, who's ever been the misfit, who's ever been the kid in the corner, who's ever needed someone to stand up for them because they didn't have a voice of their own, because there's no one else who's with them... This is for you," Roem said.

Roem represents much of what her opponent Delegate Bob Marshall has denounced. Roem is a transgender woman, who according to the Washington Post, began her physical gender transition in 2012.

Marshall has called himself Virginia's "chief homophobe" and introduced a "bathroom bill" earlier this year. He was the 13-year incumbent until now.

"It sends a really strong message that voters are concerned about issues," James Millner with Virginia Pride said. "They are not concerned with how people identify. I don't think there is a way to overstate the importance of this to the LGBTQ community, especially in a state like Virginia where LGBT people are still vulnerable because we are not protected by the same rights as other citizens. This sends a message you can do whatever you want in this commonwealth."

Roem ran a fierce and strong campaign focused on a host of issues such as traffic and education.

"There is nothing short of historic about this," Millner said. "I mean it really is an amazing accomplishment."

It's an accomplishment that Roem fought tooth and nail for especially after her opponent produced derogatory ads, attacking her gender identity.

"She refused to get dragged down in that mud," Millner said. "She focused on issues people care about."

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