Danica Roem becomes Virginia's first openly transgender state senator

Virginia Democrat Danica Roem was projected to win her election Tuesday, according to Decision Desk HQ, becoming the commonwealth’s first openly transgender state senator and the first out transgender person elected to a state Senate anywhere in the South.

Roem, 39, defeated former Fairfax County police detective Bill Woolf, a conservative Republican endorsed by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), who vowed to bar transgender athletes from competing on school sports teams if elected.

“You attack trans kids in my district at your own political peril,” Roem told The Hill in a recent interview.

Roem, who became the nation’s first openly transgender state lawmaker when she was elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates in 2017, campaigned on her experience in the legislature and successful bipartisan bills, including legislation signed by Youngkin guaranteeing hot meals to public school students and reducing traffic congestion along Route 28 in Virginia.

“I’m known nationally for being trans – I’ve never run away from that,” Roem said. “At the same time, locally, I got your kids fed; I got your commute fixed. What else is there for me to say?”

Roem’s election has secured a key Senate seat for Virginia Democrats, who spent millions this cycle vying for continued control of the state’s upper chamber.

“This is historic for Danica, and this is historic for Virginia,” Human Rights Campaign President Kelley Robinson told The Hill. “But I think for every queer person, for every trans person, for every person of color, for anyone that’s been at the margins, it is historic for all of the gains that we’re seeing happen.”

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