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James Roesener becomes first trans man in America elected to a state legislature

Roesener was elected to the New Hampshire state House on Tuesday, defeating an anti-LGBTQ Republican.

By Emily Singer - November 09, 2022
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A trans pride flag is displayed behind a speaker at an anti-trans event at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
A counter-protester displays a trans pride flag behind a speaker at a "Free Speech for Women" anti-trans event at the Lincoln Memorial. The event was hosted by British anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen and her group, Standing for Women. Keen and the group object to gender-inclusive and -affirming policies, language, and sports. (Photo by Allison Bailey/NurPhoto via AP)

James Roesener made history Tuesday night by becoming the first out transgender man elected to a state legislature in the United States, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

The 26-year-old Roesner won New Hampshire’s 22nd state House District, defeating Republican Dennis Soucy. Soucy wanted to pass a “don’t say gay” bill in New Hampshire that would prohibit teachers from discussing gender orientation and sexuality with kids in kindergarten through the third grade.

“At a time of intensifying transphobia at all levels of government and society, he showed incredible courage throughout his historic campaign,” Annise Parker, a former mayor of Houston and the president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which works to elect LGBTQ people at all levels of government, said in a statement. “Trans people – and trans men in particular – remain severely underrepresented in government at every level, but we are confident his win will inspire many more trans people to run for office.”

According to the LGBTQ Victory Fund, there are just eight out transgender legislators in the entire country, and all of them are transgender women.

In 2017, Danica Roem made history when she was the first out transgender person elected to a state legislature. Roem flipped a GOP-held state House seat in Virginia that year, ousting a GOP legislator who dubbed himself Virginia’s “chief homophobe.”

During the 2022 midterms, Republicans made attacks on transgender people a focus of their campaigns. Several vowed to ban transgender girls from girls sports teams, using that message to help turn out the GOP base. Meanwhile, a number of other GOP-controlled states, including Arkansas and Florida, went as far as banning gender-affirming care for transgender youth.

Roesner isn’t the only member of the LBGTQ community to make history Tuesday night.

In neighboring Massachusetts, Democrat Maura Healy became the first out lesbian elected governor in the United States. In Vermont, Becca Balint became both the first woman and the first LGBTQ person elected to Congress from her state.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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