Anti-LGBT politician defeated by transgender woman

Danica Roem is the first transgender state lawmaker in the USA.
Danica Roem has won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates. Photo credit: Getty

A Virginia politician has made history as the first openly transgender person elected to any state legislature in the United States.

Danica Roem, a 33-year-old former journalist, won a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates on Wednesday (NZT).

Her opponent - incumbent Republican Robert Marshall - refused to participate in debates with Ms Roem during the campaign, or to acknowledge her as a woman.

Mr Marshall, 73, who once described himself as Virginia's "chief homophobe", released a series of campaign advertisements that referred to Ms Roem with male pronouns.

He was also responsible for proposing the state's 'bathroom bill', which would have required transgender people to use only public restrooms that match the sex on their birth certificate.

The bill ultimately failed, following a committee vote in January.

Ms Roem received 54 percent of the vote in her district, ousting Mr Marshall from the House seat he had occupied since 1992. 

She first made history in June, when she defeated three other Democrats to become the first US transgender woman to win a primary race to serve in state government.

"Discrimination is a disqualifier," Ms Roem said, after her victory was announced. 

"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."