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Democrat Danica Roem is now set to become the first openly transgender state lawmaker in Virginia after defeating Virginia Republican Delegate Bob Marshall on Tuesday. The victory comes as a huge win for the LGBTQ community, not only due to the distinction of having an openly Transgender delegate-elect for Virginia’s 13th House Of Delegates district, which includes some of Washington D.C.'s outer suburbs, but also because of who she defeated. Referring to himself as Virginia's “chief homophobe,” and called “Bigot Bob” by LGBTQ activists, Bob Marshall co-sponsored a Virginia constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2006, and had more recently introduced a bill to ban transgender public school students from being able to use the bathrooms of their choice.

Virginia's New Direction

Having served 13 terms, Marshall has been a member of Virginia's House of Delegates since 1992 as one of the state's most socially conservative lawmakers, and spent a lot of energy on social policy. In addition to selecting students' bathrooms for them and trying to define marriage as between one man and one woman, Marshall also sponsored a bill to ban homosexuals from openly serving in the Virginia National Guard. Due to Marshall's penchant for controversy and the district's support of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by 14 percentage points last year, Roem was the favored candidate in the high profile election.

The Transgender Transition

Although she openly discussed her gender identity and transition, which started at the age of 28, it was not the focal point of Roem's campaign.

Instead, the 33-year-old focused on jobs, schools, and Virginia's traffic congestion. As a former award-winning reporter for the Gainesville Times and Prince William Times, Roem criticized Marshall during the campaign for being more concerned with advancing conservative causes than actual local policy legislation. Marshall refused to debate Roem and repeatedly used male pronouns to refer to her, going so far as to publish and circulate fliers disparaging her chosen gender identity.

Roem, who also provides vocals for thrash metal band Cab Ride Home, defeated Marshall by 9 percentage points. Additionally, Democrat Ralph Northam won the Virginia gubernatorial race, and, although some seats may be up for a recount, it seems that Democrats also won 14 seats in the Virginia legislature, 10 of them won by women, and 2 of them as the state's first Latina lawmakers. In Minneapolis, Democrat Andrea Jenkins, with a campaign focused on public safety, police accountability, affordable housing, and economic development, became the first openly transgender candidate to win a city council seat in a major city.