Republican Bob Marshall, a member the Virginia House of Delegates for 25 years, is openly anti-transgender. He just lost an election to a transgender woman.
Danica Roem is officially the first transgender state legislator in the United States following her victory over Marshall by nearly ten points. According to CNN political analyst Joshua Green, Marshall even refused to call his opponent by her preferred pronouns throughout the race.
This one's over, folks. Danica Roem becomes the 1st transgender delegate in VA history, trounces opponent who refused to debate or call her "she." pic.twitter.com/jE6q7iReUI
— Joshua Green (@JoshuaGreen) November 8, 2017
Marshall created headlines when he introduced Virginia’s version of a controversial North Carolina bill that would force transgender individuals to use public bathrooms associated with the gender on their birth certificate, rather than the gender they’ve embraced. Marshall’s “Physical Privacy Act” also would have required schools to disclose to a child’s parents if a student asks to be recognized as a member of the opposite sex.
Even though former Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) promised to veto the legislation if it reached his desk, the bill thankfully never made it past the committee process. Nevertheless, Marshall never stopped running as a fervent opponent of LGBT rights. In justifying his bathroom bill, Marshall suggested that transgender women would attack young girls in public restrooms if allowed inside. In 2011, Marshall even once suggested that flying the rainbow pride flag was a felony.
In her campaign, Roem ran on a platform of increasing teacher’s salaries, alleviating traffic, improving public transit, raising the minimum wage, and ensuring civil rights protections for LGBT populations and people of color. Other Democratic victories in Virginia’s state elections include Ralph Northam defeating ardent Trump supporter Ed Gillespie in the governor’s race, and Democratic Socialist Lee Carter winning election in his run for the House of Delegates.
Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based freelancer specializing in national and state government issues. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.