Danica Roem, the first out transgender person to serve in a state legislature, is adding another first to her record — she’ll be the first openly trans elected official to speak at a major party’s gala.
Roem will address the Democratic National Committee’s 19th annual LGBTQ Gala, to be held June 25 in New York City. She will join Olympian Gus Kenworthy, whose appearance was previously announced, as a featured speaker.
Roem last year won election to the Virginia House of Delegates, besting longtime incumbent Bob Marshall, a Republican who called himself the chamber’s “chief homophobe” and made transphobic comments about Roem during the race. She focused her campaign on transportation, health care, and economic opportunity. The Democrats flipped a total of 15 seats in the House, with winners including the first Latina delegates and the first Vietnamese-American elected at any level in Virginia.
“Danica Roem is a brilliant public servant and one of our nation’s most passionate voices for equality,” said DNC chair Tom Perez, in a press release. “Even in the face of hatred and bigotry from this administration, Danica has never stopped fighting for the issues that matter to the hardworking families she represents. And there’s no question that her community is stronger for her leadership and her commitment to the Democratic values of inclusion and opportunity for all.”
“Danica is a trailblazer and hero, giving visibility to the transgender community, inspiring Americans across the country, and showing that great candidates matter in tough races,” added DNC finance chair Henry Munoz. “With her help, and by following her history-making example, Democrats are going to win victories across the board this fall — from statehouses to Congress. We are grateful that she’ll join us to raise resources later this year.”
“When Democrats flipped 15 Republican seats in the Virginia House of Delegates last year we sent a signal across the country that no seat should go uncontested,” said Roem. “Now, as we approach the final six-month stretch of the 2018 cycle, it’s so important to make sure every Democrat from the school board to the Senate has the resources and tools they need to fight and win. DNC chair Perez knows every ZIP code counts and when Democrats organize and compete everywhere, we win.”
The LGBTQ Gala began in 1999 as a small dinner held by Andy Tobias, former DNC treasurer, and has grown to be one of the DNC’s marquee events. In 2017, the gala took place at Gotham Hall in New York City, with Joe Biden as the keynote speaker.