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Sylvia Swayne Aims to Make History as Alabama’s First Trans State Representative

Sylvia Swayne Aims to Make History as Alabama’s First Trans State Representative

Sylvia Swayne

Swayne came in second during a primary this week and will head to a runoff election.


Sylvia Swayne, a 26-year-old member of the Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee, is looking to become Alabama’s first transgender state representative.

She's already made history as the first out transgender candidate, according to Teen Vogue.

According to unofficial results reported by The Birmingham Times, Swayne secured 21.45 percent of the vote share in a seven-candidate primary race for House District 55. The district encompasses parts of Birmingham.

No one outright won the election, so a runoff will take place on October 24.

Swayne has received a notable endorsement from LPAC, an organization dedicated to electing LGBTQ+ women and nonbinary individuals to political office. LPAC’s executive director, Lisa Turner, noted the achievement in a press release.

“Voters in District 55 showed today that Sylvia Swayne is exactly the kind of candidate they want to see in the state legislature,” Turner said.

Swayne aims to focus on workforce development and Medicaid expansion, emphasizing that “Alabama is leaving money on the table by refusing to expand Medicaid,” according to The Birmingham Times.

She also highlighted the lack of adequate transportation and proper healthcare, which impacts Alabamians’ ability to work.

“We’re not activating people in the community, or young people, to oppose or speak out about what’s going on at the Capitol,” Swayne told “And for me, I realized that if that’s the environment that we’re tolerating, then somebody has to work with people to change. I think at the state level is where we see a lot of division.”

She told Teen Vogue, "As a trans person in Alabama, I basically have to be a single-issue voter. I have to think about the people who are running for office and determining whether they're going to advocate for our community. By running, I no longer have to be a single-issue voter. I hope that in the various debates and interviews and conversations I've had with voters, people recognize that I know about so much more than LGBT issues."

Her opponent in the upcoming runoff is Travis Hendrix, a 40-year-old sergeant in the Birmingham Police Department. Hendrix has received high-profile endorsements from Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Alabama House Democratic Leader Rep. Anthony Daniels. According to The Birmingham Times, Hendrix secured 27.91 percent in the initial race. He’s leveraging his law enforcement experience to build relationships with community leaders and establish preventative programs for young people.

Whoever wins the runoff will then go to the special general election to be held early next year.

The House District 55 seat became vacant after Rep. Fred Plump, a Democrat, resigned in May after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges and obstruction of justice. He's set to be sentenced on October 23.

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