Virginia State Del. Danica Roem, known for her groundbreaking tenure as the first openly transgender person seated in a U.S. state legislature, faced an anti-transgender heckler during a debate on September 28. The incident occurred during a debate organized by the Prince William Committee of 100, where Roem squared off against her Republican opponent, Bill Woolf, at Metz Middle School in Manassas.
In response to the heckler’s disturbance, Roem delivered a passionate message of inclusivity, emphasizing Virginia’s diversity and welcoming spirit. She stated, “We welcome everyone because of who they are, not despite it, no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, if you do, or who you love.” The audience responded with applause as the heckler was removed from the auditorium.
Roem’s political journey has been marked by significant milestones for the LGBTQ community. In 2017, she unseated a vocal LGBTQ rights opponent, becoming the first openly transgender person to serve in a U.S. state legislature. Roem’s dedication to her constituents led to her reelection in 2019, solidifying her impact. Now, in 2022, she is running to represent the newly redistricted Senate District 30, encompassing western Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.
Meanwhile, her opponent, Bill Woolf, did not clarify his stance on the repeal of Virginia’s marriage amendment during the September 28 debate. Additionally, Woolf expressed support for a bill that would mandate school personnel to disclose information about transgender students to their parents. The incident underscores the ongoing challenges and discussions surrounding LGBTQ rights in Virginia’s political landscape.
In the face of adversity, Danica Roem continues to champion inclusivity and equal representation, embodying the spirit of progress that defines Virginia’s diverse communities.