Transgender woman Danica Roem defeated Republican Robert G. Marshall, who introduced the controversial “bathroom bill” in Virginia in an election held on Tuesday, November 7.
Roem, a Democrat, is set to become the nation’s first openly transgender state lawmaker. The 33-year-old former journalist ran against Marshall, a 13-term incumbent who called himself the state’s “chief homophobe,” the Washington Post reports.
Marshall, 73, had previously proposed a measure banning openly gay people from serving in the Virginia National Guard and was the primary sponsor of Virginia’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
In 2016, he introduced the anti-transgender bathroom bill that would have required people to use the restroom that corresponded with the gender on their original birth certificates. It would also have required public school principals to notify a child’s parents within 24 hours if he or she asked to be “recognized or treated as the opposite sex.” The bill was rejected in January.
The conservative politician had refused to debate Roem and referred to her throughout the campaign with male pronouns. He also posted an attack ad on Facebook that accused her of “lewd” and “shocking” behavior.
“Discrimination is a disqualifier,” Roem said on Tuesday night as she claimed victory in the election, according to the Washington Post. “This is about the people of the 13th District disregarding fear tactics, disregarding phobias … where we celebrate you because of who you are, not despite it.”
In other election news, Chris Hurst, a former news anchor whose girlfriend was killed in 2015 while reporting on live television, was elected to Virginia’s 12th District on Tuesday night. He defeated Republican Joseph Yost, CNN reports.
Hurst left his job following the death of Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward, who were killed by a former coworker and decided to run for a House seat.