A record number of transgender candidates were elected to public offices Tuesday night, marking a wave of change sweeping through American culture and politics.
Danica Roem, a transgender woman, beat conservative delegate Robert Marshall, becoming Virginia’s first openly transgender state representative.
Lisa Middleton won a seat on the Palm Springs, Calif. city council, making him the first openly transgender person elected to a nonjudicial office in California.
Tyler Titus won a seat on the Erie School Board, making her the first openly transgender person to hold office in Pennsylvania.
Andrea Jenkins and Phillipe Cunningham were elected to serve on the Minneapolis City Council, and they are the first openly transgender black citizens elected to public office in the U.S., according to the Washington Post.
Stephe Koontz, a transgender woman, also won a city council seat in Doraville, Ga.
Roem, Middleton, Titus, Jenkins, Cunningham and Koontz all campaigned as openly transgender candidates, and their wins will likely prompt more transgender candidates to run in both local and state elections in the future.
Before these historic wins, however, other transgenders served in public office, albeit without publicly announcing their sexual identity. Transgender woman Althea Garrison was elected to the Massachusetts state legislature in 1992 and is widely considered the first transgender black woman to hold public office. Garrison has run for office several times since his first win, but was never re-elected.
Michelle Bruce also became Georgia’s first transgender politician in 2003 after running in a city council race. When Bruce ran for a second term, however, an opponent sued over election fraud because voters didn’t know Bruce was born a man, according to The New York Times.
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