America’s First: Danica Roem Wins Virginia Election & Becomes First Openly Trans State Lawmaker 

I lived in San Francisco for a long time and then in Bangkok for a long time, and both are well known for their LBGTQ community, and the community is quite large, and live very much in the open. So I have had lots of experience with LBGTQ people, including transgender people and have a few acquaintance and a few LBGTQ friends. So I have heard much about LBGTQ people and some of the stories they tell me are horrific, meaning discrimination the likes that makes one think, some people see LBGTQ people as not human, and have absolutely no human rights or freedom to be themselves.

The following is from Splinter News

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Danica Roem Wins Virginia Election and Becomes America’s First Openly Trans State Lawmaker

On Tuesday night Danica Roem defeated Bob Marshall in Virginia’s 13th district. Roem’s victory makes her the first trans woman to serve on Virginia’s state legislature — Roem’s election also makes her the first openly trans candidate in the country to run and win a seat on any state’s legislature.

Roem’s win is especially sweet for another reason. Marshall, a 26-year veteran in Virginia’s state legislature, proposed an anti-trans bathroom bill in January. That bill was eventually blocked, but Marshall’s virulent anti-LGBTQ attacks continued during the campaign.

In September, Marshall asked why a reporter referred to Roem as woman. “Did Danica’s DNA change,” he questioned. Responding to Marshall’s clearly transphobic remark, Roem released a powerful ad, titled “Inspire,” elucidating why her identity shouldn’t affect her ability to serve.

“I’m running for office because my identity shouldn’t be a big deal. This shouldn’t be newsworthy or political. This is just who I am,” she said in the ad.

Althea Garrison was technically the first trans woman to serve on a state legislature; she was elected to the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1993, however she was not openly trans when she won.

The Following is from Refinery 29

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Best States for Trans Gender Rights

In 2010, Vice President Joe Biden made headlines when he said that transgender discrimination is “the civil rights issue of our time.” And, while there are still many civil rights battles to be fought, this past year has included incredible advances in turning American attention to not just transgender rights, but transgender life. Jill Soloway’s Transparent, about a family learning that their father is transgender, has been a huge success. Congressman Mike Honda of California has openly supported his transgender granddaughter. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless.

Most importantly, the trans community itself is finally beginning to be able to bring its experiences and voices to the forefront: Laverne Cox was on the cover of TIME; Janet Mock’s memoir, Redefining Realness, hit the bestseller list, and social media lit up with voices, opinions, and narratives that hardly seemed possible to discuss openly just a few years ago. Influencers like Kate Bornstein and Parker Molloy have become valued for their social commentary on and reactions to trans representations in media and pop culture.

But, it’s not all good. According to a report from the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the transgender community, as compared to the cis population, has higher rates of unemployment, is more likely to live in poverty, and suffers adverse job outcomes and discrimination. It’s beyond being second-class citizens — it’s a systematic denial of basic human rights. “There are stories of amazing acceptance, but the amount of bias and stigma is really kind of mind-blowing,” says Amy Whelan of the National Center For Lesbian Rights (NCLR), an organization on the forefront of trans issues. While there have been breakthroughs on the national stage, trans people everywhere still face massive prejudice and hurdles in their day-to-day lives.

This map and the stories that accompany it are a snapshot of transgender life in America: what it’s like to live as a trans person in each of the 50 states — from the most livable ones (California, Vermont) to the least inviting (South Dakota, Mississippi). We gave each state a ranking — and, for context, added anecdotes or news moments relating to the community in that state.

We looked for stories that span a vast range of issues; they are by no means the definitive story for any one state. There are uplifting stories from states with next to no legal protections for trans residents, and hate crimes that occur in the most progressive of cities. Together, these dispatches begin to paint a picture of how many stories are out there, and why they should matter to all of us. —Mike Albo

Our methodology: 
We started with four categories:

Work & School: Do the state’s laws protect trans workers and students from discrimination?
Health Care: Is there access to insurance that covers trans-related health care, and hospitals that don’t discriminate?
Safety: Does the state have hate-crime laws that include gender identity?
Community: How easy does the state make daily life for a trans person? This includes discrimination laws covering restaurants and bars, anti-bullying legislation, and rules for changing the gender of drivers’ licenses and official documents.

For each category, states were given a numerical score. Those scores were weighted to reflect how important that category is, and then the category scores were added up to get a state’s total score. We ranked each state by its score to get the map above and our ranking, below.

We used data and maps from the NCLR, Transgender Law Center, Human Rights Campaign, the MAP project, the ACLU, and other organizations who are fighting for gender equality — along with our own research. (If you a full deep-dive into how we did it, click here.)

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