Danica Roem Is First Out Trans Lawmaker Reelected to a State Legislature

Roem’s opponent launched anti-trans ad in final weeks of the campaign

On Tuesday night Virginia Delegate Danica Roem – the first openly out-and-seated transgender state legislator ever elected in the United States – defeated her anti-LGBTQ challenger Kelly McGinn in a race that was considered a bellwether for whether Virginia is trending Democratic. Holding her seat was considered critical to Democratic efforts to retake the House of Delegates in 2019. Roem is now the first out trans state legislator to win reelection.

Victory Fund, the nation's largest LGBTQ political action committee, invested heavily in Roem’s reelection race – raising more than $120,000 and directly contributing $2500.


“In 2017, Danica wrote the playbook on how transgender candidates can defeat anti-LGBTQ opponents through authenticity and attention to everyday issues – and her reelection victory sets it in stone,” said Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund. “Voters did not head to the polls to make history, yet they proved trans candidates can win battleground races in battleground states despite transphobic attacks from opponents. Danica inspired trans people across the nation to run for office. Her reelection proves that political revolution is a lasting transformation – not an aberration.”

In the final weeks of the campaign, an organization with strong ties to Roem’s opponent released an online ad attacking her gender identity. The ad was reminiscent of transphobic attacks from her 2017 opponent, Bob Marshall, a 25-year incumbent and self-described “chief homophobe” of the Virginia state legislature. She became the first openly trans person to win and serve in a state legislature when she defeated Marshall.

Roem is one of five openly LGBTQ incumbent state legislators. State Senator Adam Ebbin, as well as Delegates Dawn Adams, Mark Levine and Mark Sickles all had elections Tuesday night. All were considered critical to Democrats taking the state House.

“Danica Roem has once again made history, becoming the longest-serving and first openly transgender elected official to be re-elected in our nation’s history,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBTQ civil rights organization. “Throughout her tenure in the House of Delegates, Roem has remained focused on the needs of her constituents, despite hateful and divisive attacks from anti-LGBTQ groups and her opponents. From expanding Medicaid and providing health care to 400,000 Virginians to improving Route 28, Delegate Roem has been an effective leader in Richmond -- and she isn’t finished yet. For these reasons and more, the Human Rights Campaign is proud to have helped her fight for re-election and is proud to stand alongside her each and every step of her awe-inspiring journey.”