World

A transgender woman just made history in the Virginia elections

A transgender woman has unseated one of Virginia's most socially conservative lawmakers, which means she will become the first openly transgender person elected and then seated in an American state legislature.

It came on the same day Democrat Ralph Northam was elected as Virginia's next governor.

Democrat Danica Roem, 32, beat Republican incumbent Bob Marshall, 73, in the northern Virginia district near Washington DC.

She's a former journalist and started pursuing therapy to begin her gender transition when she was 28.

Mr Marshall had served in the House of Delegates since 1992 and had been a lightning rod for controversy.

He's the man who unsuccessfully pushed a bill that would have restricted the bathrooms transgender people can use. He also sponsored a bill banning gay people from openly serving in the Virginia National Guard.

As such, the election race was seen by some as a referendum on rights for gay and transgender people.

External Link: Daniel Dale tweet: Danica Roem didn't only win – she beat a vehemently anti-trans incumbent who called her "a guy who thinks he's a girl who wears a dress."

However, Ms Roem's gender identity was not a key part of her campaign. Instead, she focused on jobs, schools and northern Virginia's traffic congestion:

External Link: Hannah Grace tweet: Smile, we might make history today (by fixing route 28)

Since Mr Marshall was first elected in 1991, the district, which covers Manassas and Prince William County, has become more populous, diverse and left-leaning politically.

In November, it was one of 17 Republican-controlled House districts Hillary Clinton won over Donald Trump in the presidential race.

External Link: Kyle Griffin tweet: Danica Roem on MSNBC: "No matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, who you love, how you identify, or any other inherent identifier that you have, you should be celebrated because of who you are, not despite it."

AP/ABC

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