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Virginia elects first transgender state legislator

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Virginia’s most socially conservative lawmaker was overthrown Tuesday by Danica Roem, a Democrat who will be one of the nation’s first openly transgendered officials, epitomizing much of what Del Robert G. Marshall fought against in Richmond.

The race focused on traffic and other local issues in suburban Prince William County but also addressed several of the nation’s gender identity controversies. The 33-year-old former journalist who began her physical sex change four years ago, ran against the 13-term incumbent who introduced a “bathroom bill” earlier this year, which died in committee.

The Washington Post spoke to the rhapsodic Roem who said “Discrimination is a disqualifier,” as her margin of victory became clear. “This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias . . . where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”

73-year-old Marshall posted a concession message on Facebook. “For 26 years I’ve been proud to fight for you, and fight for our future,” he said. “I’m committed to continue the fight for you, but in a different role going forward.”

Roem outraised Marshall 3-to-1 with nearly $ 500,000 in donations, much of which came from LGBT advocates and other supporters across the country. Her campaign was relentless, knocking on doors more than 75,000 times. Roem showed for countless public appearances and interviews, maintaining a solid social media presence. Marshall kept his schedule secret, but also produced a healthy basic game; His campaign said this week that he was knocking on the doors of voters about 49,000 times this fall.

Proponents say she will be the first openly transgender person to be elected and seated in a federal state legislature; a transgender candidate was elected to New Hampshire in 2012, but did not take office, and a transgender person served in Massachusetts legislation in the early 1990s but was not overtly transgendered during the campaign.

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