Christine Hallquist, who recently made history by becoming the first out transgender gubernatorial nominee of any major party in the U.S., is receiving death threats.
Hallquist, the Democratic nominee for Vermont governor, “said Tuesday she’s been getting a steady stream of death threats and other personal attacks since her candidacy began to draw attention from across the country and the world,” the state’s Burlington Free Press reports.
“Early on when our team assembled I said, ‘The more successful we are, the more vitriol and threats we are going to receive,’” she told the paper. “It’s kind of a natural outcome of our divided country.”
Hallquist, the former CEO of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, won the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary last week, easily besting several other candidates. In November she will face Republican incumbent Phil Scott.
Scott condemned the threats his opponent is receiving. “We must – as a society – do better to combat anger and violence,” he said. “I’m hopeful Vermonters will join me in ensuring everyone – regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or other characteristics – are treated with dignity, respect, and acceptance.”
Hallquist said she has made some changes as a result of the threats, such as not giving advance notice of some of her public appearances and not widely sharing the address of her campaign headquarters. She has received about a dozen death threats via phone and social media, and has reported them to the Vermont State Police and the FBI, which are investigating.
Elliot Imse, spokesman for the LGBTQ Victory Fund, which has endorsed Hallquist, praised her courage. “While the people of Vermont know Christine as the intelligent executive with a clear vision for their state, her courage in running as an openly trans woman cannot be understated,” he told the Free Press. “It takes guts to be a trailblazer because with it comes opening yourself to attacks from the most hateful among us – it is what the leaders of social change nearly always encounter.”