Transitions Towards Progress

James Cantu

November 15th, 2017

Likely 2018 campaign strategies are being tested out in the current Virginia gubernational contest. – Photo provided by Genaro Molina/ Los Angeles Times/ TNS

“The best way to show your discontent or support for what is going on in the political sphere is to not vote, but instead plaster your views via stickers on your 1996 Ford minivan,” said no one, ever.

Inaction is still an action, and if the 40.7 percent of those who didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election actually did vote, maybe we wouldn’t be spending our free time frantically tweeting or emailing our representatives to not vote for the repeal of the American Health Care Act or imploring them to recognize that poor people are still people too.

But, maybe through all of this turmoil, fear, and yelling from both sides of the party line, something positive has come out of it.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017 was a big day in politics, not only for democrats, but for the LGBT community.

There were eight transgender candidates who won their elections on Tuesday.

One of the eight winners is Danica Roam, a transgender woman who has been elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates.

Danica Roam is not the first transgender woman to win a state race or take state office-that title goes to Althea Garrison-but she is the first openly transgender person who has won and will serve in a state office.

What is especially notable about Roam is that she beat the GOP House incumbent of 25 years, Bob Marshall.

Marshall is noted for sponsoring a measure that is commonly known as the “bathroom bill” that would have forced transgender individuals from going to the bathrooms designated for their birth sex, along with authoring a now defunct constitutional amendment that defined marriage as between one man and one woman.

The women and men who are breaking barriers along with Roam are: Andrea Jenkins, elected to Minneapolis City Council; Phillipe Cunningham, elected to Minneapolis City Council; Lisa Middleton, elected to Palm Springs City Council, Stephe Koontz, elected to Georgia’s city council; Raven Matherne, elected to Stamford, Connecticut’s Board of Representatives; Tyler Titus, elected to Erie School Board; and Gerri Cannon, elected to Somersworth, New Hampshire’s school board.

With a suicide rate ranging from 32 percent to 50 percent, and with LGBT people making up  20 percent to 40 percent of the homeless youth population, it is a major step in the right direction in electing officials who have the ability to help their communities.

In a matter of a few short years, we have gone from debating the legality of issuing the bathroom bill, to electing transgender officials. This positive representation of the trans community also serves to destroy the stigma or “taboo” that surrounds transgender individuals like myself.

We are not all just drag queens or kings, the butt of jokes, or the subject of a “controversial” vanity fair cover.

Transgender people are multifaceted individuals who are just as competent and respectable as any other human being.

Now, I a not saying that these eight individuals totally make up for the complete trash fire that has been 2017, but maybe they’re akin to the marshmallows roasting above it.

2017 may have been a bad year, but in it there has been opportunities for some positives-no matter how small.

James Cantu

Opinions Editor

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