Welcome to LoudounTimes.com
Loudoun Times-Mirror

Transgender woman challenges bathroom bill sponsor in closely watched northern Va. contest

She's a transgender woman and an experienced journalist who sings in a metal band in her spare time.

He has sponsored some of the most socially conservative legislation in Virginia in the past 25 years, including a measure this year that would have restricted the bathrooms transgender people can use.

Democrat Danica Roem is challenging Republican Bob Marshall for his northern Virginia seat in the state House of Delegates. With such stark differences between the candidates, the race is expected to draw in big money and is seen by some as a referendum on rights for gay and transgender people.

Roem would be the first openly transgender candidate to win and serve in a state legislature, according to the Victory Fund, a political action committee that supports her and calls Marshall "the most anti-LGBTQ member of the Virginia state legislature."

"Danica Roem is a leader in a national movement of trans candidates who are determined to become a voice for their community in the halls of power," said Aisha Moodie-Mills, president and CEO of the organization.

In an interview and through emails, Marshall defended his record and said he respects every person "because we are all made in our Creator's image."

"I'm not trying to tell people like Danica, formally Dan, how to live their life, and likewise they should not be forcing their views and behaviors on the rest of us," Marshall, 73, wrote in one message.

Roem handily won a four-way primary in June and is part of a surge of young, first-time candidates Democrats hope will help it retake control of the GOP-led chamber for the first time in nearly two decades.

Campaign finance reports show she's off to a strong fundraising start. Roem raised $151,487 in the first six months of the year, compared with Marshall's $18,564, leaving her with about $9,000 less than Marshall on hand after expenses.

Marshall was prohibited from fundraising when the legislature was in session during the first two months of the year.

During a recent interview, Roem, 32, energetically rattled off stats about issues like zoning and land use, topics she covered while reporting for two Virginia newspapers. She quit to campaign full time and said it's hard now to find time with her band, Cab Ride Home, which has played shows in the Midwest, along the East Coast and in Europe.

Roem started pursuing therapy to begin her gender transition when she was 28. While she talks openly about it — saying transitioning "fundamentally altered my life for the better" — she'd rather focus on local issues: jobs, schools and improving one of the area's most congested thoroughfares.

Marshall has spent too much time on social policy, she argues.

He authored a now-void constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between one man and one woman. He sponsored a bill banning gay people from openly serving in the Virginia National Guard. This year, he unsuccessfully pushed a bill that would have generally prohibited people from using a bathroom of the opposite sex in government-owned buildings.

But Marshall pointed out he's authored 60-plus bills and studies that have become law. Among them: prohibiting warrantless searches of cellphones and computers and streamlining the paperwork for doing business in Virginia.

He's also tangled with his own party, often over government transparency.

"So many times in Richmond, it's maintain the status quo, 'Don't do this, don't bring this up,'" Marshall said.

Recently, the two candidates took opposing positions before the Prince William County School Board as it weighed whether to expand its nondiscrimination policy to include gender identity and sexual orientation. The board approved the expansion last month after extensive debate.

Jeannie and Darin Lowder, whose children attend Prince William County Public Schools, said before the board's vote that they plan to vote for Marshall largely because of his unwavering support for parents like them, who didn't want to see the nondiscrimination policy expanded.

That kind of constituent connection could help Marshall, who is an "institution" in the district, said Quentin Kidd, a political science professor at Christopher Newport University.

But Manassas resident Hope Vella, who is gay, said Roem has her vote, in part because she was inspired to see someone being unapologetically herself and running on an inclusive platform.

"If you're not like me, you're disposable" seems to be the prevailing attitude in politics, said Vella, who was moved to tears when she met Roem.

Since 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.

"The district is changing ... and at some point he's likely to be defeated," University of Mary Washington political science professor Stephen Farnsworth said. "We'll see depending on the campaign whether this year is that year."

Comments


arbie demands that SterlingLocal accept Dan(ica) for who he/she is, but Dan(ica) couldn’t even do that!


~SterlingLocal

Passes on the cool-aid to drink holy water. Talk about someone who thinks for themselves. How about your pro-small government agenda applying to what i do to my own body and what i do in the privacy of my own home.

Nope, need the State/Fed govn’t involved there—SterlingLocal


Arbie, how does the cool aid taste? I’m sure is delicious, but I’m passing on it.


@Sterlinglocal you won’t be upset if we don’t believe you have enough chromosomes to be classified as a homo sapien (scientific term for modern human being and Latin for wise man).


“She’s a transgender woman and an experienced journalist who sings in a metal band in her spare time.” Guess this justifies truth with all the misfit millennial.


SterlingLocal, *her* name is Danica, and *she* is a woman.  I don’t care whether or not you accept her identity, but she DOES deserve a modicum of respect, and if you can’t avoid deliberately misgendering someone or using their deadname, perhaps you should just zip your lips and keep your nasty thoughts to yourself for once.


~SterlingLocal

Are you defending the republican “small government” guy who wants to legislate trans-vaganal ultrasounds and tells people they can’t live their lives free of his/government interference? He refers to himself as the Minister of Private Parts.

This is the guy you’re backing? That doesn’t sound very free to me, or someone who thinks for himself.


This is the best the democrats can do, lol? Waiting for a mistake by Marshall and that will not happen.


transgenders cannot serve this country in any capacity.  she will loose BIGLY!


So If I don’t play along and believe that Dan is now a women, I should be legislated into believing this? Is that the agenda here? So Dan’s goal is to “re-educate” opposing views and bring them in line with his way of thinking. Sounds like Communism. I prefer to remain a free American who thinks for himself.

Post a comment

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments express only the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this website or any associated person or entity. Any user who believes a message is objectionable can contact us at ltmeditor@loudountimes.com.

More News

As Seen IN PRINT
The Loudoun Times-Mirror

is an interactive, digital replica
of the printed newspaper.
Click here for all e-editions.
Email UPDATES