November 27, 2022

BREAKING BARRIERS: First openly transgender male elected to New Hampshire legislature

BREAKING BARRIERS: First openly transgender male elected to New Hampshire legislature

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Add the state of New Hampshire to the list of election firsts after electing the first transgender male lawmaker to their state legislature. Democrat James Roesener won the race for New Hampshire’s 22nd state House District, Ward 8 on Tuesday, becoming the first openly trans man elected to any state legislature in United States history.

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2022 saw the most LGBTQ people ever running for office with over 1000 openly-out candidates on ballots in all 50 states and the District of Columbia – including a record number of transgender political hopefuls.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund applauded Roesener’s win. and highlighted the importance of representation in public office.

Former Houston mayor, Annise Parker, President, and CEO of the organization said in a statement:

“Tonight is a resounding win for New Hampshire and for trans people across the country, with James shattering a lavender ceiling and proving that America is ready for trans men leaders in our state legislatures. From safeguarding reproductive rights to increasing investment in New Hampshire’s education and health care systems, James is well prepared to enact legislation that will deliver lasting results for his community. At a time of intensifying transphobia at all levels of government and society, he showed incredible courage throughout his historic campaign. Trans people – and trans men in particular – remain severely underrepresented in government at every level, but we are confident his win will inspire many more trans people to run for office.”

As the LGBTQ community continues to make strides toward equity, inclusion, and representation, the Republican party has double downed on anti-gay legislation and rhetoric, demonizing an already marginalized community. Roesener’s win comes at a crucial time in our democracy, and signals progress.

The LGBTQ Victory Fund keeps track of LGBTQ candidates running for office, releasing the demographical data in its annual “Out on the Trail” report. 2022 saw a nearly 6% jump since the 2020 election with 1065 LGBTQ people running this year. The number of LGBTQ candidates on the general ballot increased to 678 – up from 574 in 2020.

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This is something Parker believes is a direct result of the increase in attacks on members of the gay community.

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“As politicians in state legislatures and on school boards levied unprecedented attacks on our community and our kids, LGBTQ leaders responded, running for office in record numbers. We saw more LGBTQ candidates of color, trans candidates, nonbinary candidates and bisexual candidates than in any other election year,” Parker said.

At a July rally for reproductive rights, Rosener told NPR affiliate New Hampshire Public Radio that the Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade “as well as the wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation sweeping across the country, affects more than just the people who seek abortion and gender-affirming care.”

“It criminalizes and reduces access to everyone, for those who utilize contraception, those who need hormone replacement  therapy – that is not just transgender people – and those whose well-being relies on medications deemed abotifacients,” he said.

Roesener’s opponent Dennis Soucy supports banning diverse and inclusive teaching in schools, “Don’t Say, Gay” type laws, and doesn’t believe police brutality is an issue.

The married 26-year-old representative-elect will join just six openly transgender men serving in elected positions in California, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

“I believe that it is imperative that all individuals have the ability to thrive in New Hampshire,” Roesener wrote in his biography. “I deeply care about creating a better world for us all. I have set my standards high and will continue to fight for change until enduring solutions can be reached.”

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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