//Meet The Trans Political Hopefuls Who Aim To Lead The Battle For Equality
Danica Roem Transgender US politics LGBT

Meet The Trans Political Hopefuls Who Aim To Lead The Battle For Equality

Nearly 30 races in the 2017-18 election cycle already have a transgender candidate, up from 13 in 2015-16, according to Logan Casey, a research associate at Harvard University tracking them.

by Letitia Stein

(HuffPost) – Virginia Democrat Danica Roem has been called a man by conservative opponents attacking her views on LGBT rights as she campaigns to become the United States’ only transgender state legislator.

Roem does not shy away from her gender identity. In one campaign ad, she applies makeup at a bathroom mirror and takes hormone pills. But rather than focus on the politics of running as a transgender woman, she prefers to discuss traffic gridlock and other issues in the Nov. 7 election for the Virginia House of Delegates.

“Transgender people are just as qualified to say, ‘Hey, I can’t stand being stuck in traffic right now. I have some ideas to fix this,’” said Roem, a 33-year-old journalist. “We can be leaders on transportation. We can be leaders on economic development, and yeah, we can be leaders on civil rights too.”

Her candidacy comes as more transgender men and women are vying for voices in the political arena where they have been targeted by conservative lawmakers seeking to limit their rights, most notably by restricting bathroom access.

U.S. elections this year could double the country’s number of transgender officeholders, currently at six, according to the Victory Fund, which works to elect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates. The group has endorsed eight transgender candidates up for election this fall.

A transgender man and woman are running for city council in Minneapolis. A mayoral race in Midvale, Utah, and school board contest in Erie, Pennsylvania, are among the other contests with transgender candidates.

Nearly 30 races in the 2017-18 election cycle already have a transgender candidate, up from 13 in 2015-16, according to Logan Casey, a research associate at Harvard University tracking them.

The community’s electoral push comes as Republican President Donald Trump’s administration has reversed guidance to public schools on allowing transgender students’ bathroom choice and wants to ban transgender people from military service.

Other minority groups also have battled discrimination through gains at the polls. But transgender candidates face unique challenges in making their case to voters who often have never met another transgender person, at least not knowingly.

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