A record number of trans and nonbinary people are running for office
In 2017, former journalist Danica Roem made history when she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, making her the first out transgender state legislator in the United States. But Roem was part of a bigger, if still relatively small, wave of trans candidates: at least 20 in all, enough for the Victory Fund, an LGBTQ political advocacy organization, to dub 2017 “the year of the trans candidate.”
Five years later, a record number of trans and nonbinary candidates are vying for public office, according to data compiled by the Victory Fund.
As of July, the Victory Fund reports that 55 trans candidates are running for office, alongside 20 gender nonconforming candidates, 18 nonbinary candidates and four Two-Spirit candidates.
This wave of candidates comes at a precarious time for LGBTQ rights in the United States. Across the country’s statehouses, an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ measures have been introduced, with most bills aimed at curbing the rights of trans children and their families.
Sean Meloy, vice president of political programs at the Victory Fund, believes the record number of trans, nonbinary and gender-nonconforming candidates is a response.
“They know that our rights continue to be on the ballot and that we are under attack,” Meloy said.
They’re also setting their sights on state legislatures — the place where most anti-LGBTQ policies have been introduced. Among LGBTQ candidates broadly, the majority (41 percent) are running for state office.
The Washington Post spoke to three trans and nonbinary candidates about why they’re running — and why it matters.