See below for great stuff, as usual, from Virginia Del. Danica Roem, this time responding to Republicans’ “Cruel New Culture War” – against transgender kids. The Virginia Republican candidate she refers to, by the way, is this guy, who ranted the other day: “we’re doing transgender re-assignment surgery. That is gross and disgusting — and that makes you unfit for duty.” As Del. Roem explains, this “transphobic attack — this time against members of the military” is “sad but not surprising,” an indication that Republicans have “doubled down on the same transphobic bigotry as four years ago, even as our community has embraced inclusive policies.” And, Del. Roem adds, “You cannot serve your constituents by singling out and stigmatizing the very people you run to represent — trans kids included.”
It was sad but not surprising to hear a Republican candidate for the House of Delegates here in Prince William County launch yet another transphobic attack — this time against members of the military — on Saturday in Manassas at an event headlined by a Republican supervisor and then receiving applause from other attendees for doing it. Yet the rhetoric we heard isn’t any different from the discriminatory ideology rejected by Prince William County voters in 2017 and 2019 when every Republican delegate representing the county lost or left office.
The county’s delegation to the House of Delegates has shifted from a 6-2 Republican majority in 2017 to an 8-0 Democratic majority today. Yet they’ve doubled down on the same transphobic bigotry as four years ago, even as our community has embraced inclusive policies. You cannot serve your constituents by singling out and stigmatizing the very people you run to represent — trans kids included. Equality is constituent service.
At a time when we’re seeing in Republican trifecta states (governor + majorities in both state legislative chambers) dozens of discriminatory bills targeting trans people, I’m proud that we’ve made Virginia a nationwide leader in LGBTQ equality by passing about two dozen bills to prevent discrimination. Meanwhile, we’re also doing the work to expedite COVID-19 vaccinations, passing the largest transportation funding bill since 1986, raising pay for state employees, feeding hungry kids, reforming our criminal justice system, taking meaningful action on transitioning to renewable energy, strengthening voting rights and so much more.
Here in the 13th District, we’ve seen our schools reopen to students in Manassas Park and Prince William County — students that are diverse as anywhere in the country. We should be welcoming, celebrating, respecting and protecting our students because of who they are, not despite it. That means we can’t just make up non-existent problems about trans student athletes causing issues for anyone else or have politicians interfere with students receiving proper medical care.
So thank you to Alicia Menendez of MSNBC’s “American Voices” for inviting Chase Strangio of the ACLU and me to talk yesterday about flipping the script on transphobic bigotry. All of this reminds me of the importance of passing the Equality Act at the federal level, just like we did with our state versions of the bill here as we’ve worked to make Virginia a more inclusive commonwealth.