Written by Kathleen Malone. Media by Kelsey Middleton.
There has been a new development within school boards, lawmaker positions, city councils, and state offices. On November 7, eight transgender candidates were elected to those positions. Most of the people elected won by a very slim margin–some of them by only a six-vote margin. Times have changed, and this is shown even more so by the candidates that were elected. Think Progress compiled a list of the elected transgender candidates: Danica Roem, Andrea Jenkins, Phillipe Cunningham, Lisa Middleton, Stephe Koontz, Raven Matherne, Tyler Titus and Gerri Cannon.
Many people, such as Bob Marshall, the Virginia Republican delegate who ran against Roem, are opposed to this change, though there are many others that are excited about it, and the LGBTQ community is one such group.
One of the candidates, Stephe Koontz, Georgia’s only transgender elected official, said in an interview with by CBS46, “Friends told me, ‘You can’t run. You’re transgender. You’re going to be unelectable because of that.” But despite what her friends told her, she decided to run to be on the city council. She won the election by six votes. Despite being voted into the city council, “Koontz doesn’t wanter her gender identity to cloud the issues because there’s work to be done,” according to the article. This means that she is ready to do her job and not worry what people think of her gender.
Kristina Marusic for NewNowNext did an article on Tyler Titus, who will be on the Erie School Board. Similar to Koontz, he will reportedly be the first transgender elected official in Pennsylvania history. Before he was elected to the seat, he was a youth advocate and school counselor, so he was already eager to help students and younger people succeed in life. Victory Fund president Aisha C. Moodie-Mills made a comment about Titus taking a seat on the school board: “His victory will resonate well-beyond state boundaries. Trans people remain severely underrepresented in our politics and government, and now more than ever we need trans voices like Tyler’s in the halls of power.”
Arguably the most popular out of all the candidates, Danica Roem, has been elected to Virginia’s 13th District in the House of Delegates. Roem commented after receiving election results,
“To every person who’s ever been singled out, who’s ever been stigmatized, who’s ever been the misfit, who’s ever been the kid in the corner, who’s ever needed someone to stand up for them when they didn’t have a voice of their own, this one is for you.”
This comment shows that she is for everyone, especially the marginalized and underrepresented. In an article by Antonia Olivo, Roem emphasizes one example of her commitment to the people: pushing for LGBTQ health care and making insurance coverage for gender transitions more accessible.
Times are changing. Even though there are people that seem to be stuck in past eras, not wanting to accept the changing times, the new officials show that time will not stand still for anyone, no matter what they try. Each one of the new elected officials is stepping into positions that will help schools, communities, cities, and states. It will be very interesting to see what they will do with the positions that they have earned.