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Meet 2017's newly elected transgender officials

by Brooke Sopelsa /

From the Virginia House of Delegates to the Minneapolis City Council, transgender Americans scored historic victories across the U.S. this year. With the election of at least nine openly transgender people in 2017, the number of trans elected officials will more than double once they all officially take office.

Image: Danica Roem
Virginia Delegate-elect Danica Roem is greeted by supporters as she prepares to give her victory speech.The Washington Post / Getty Images

"We saw a significant increase this year in transgender people both running for office and winning their elections," Logan S. Casey, a Harvard researcher who has been tracking transgender candidates across the U.S., told NBC News. "Many people across the country were motivated by the political climate itself to become more politically involved, and this includes transgender people."

Sarah McBride, national press secretary for LGBTQ advocacy group Human Right Campaign, stressed the importance of this increased representation, saying, "Change only happens when we have a seat at the table, and we hope these newly elected officials will advocate for justice and fairness and continue to usher in a new wave of leaders fighting for equality."

Here is a list of the nine openly transgender people who were elected to office this year. According to Casey's research, they will join seven other transgender officials, who were elected prior to 2017.

Danica Roem

Virginia House of Delegates

Image: Danica Roem
Delegate-elect Danica Roem, who won her race for the Virginia House of Delegates 13th District.Reuters file

Roem’s historic victory over 11-term Republican incumbent Bob Marshall will make her the first openly transgender person to be seated in a U.S. state legislature when she takes office in January.

Andrea Jenkins

Minneapolis City Council

Image:
Andrea Jenkins hugs a supporter as she won the Minneapolis Ward 8: Council Member race in Minneapolis on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.Carlos Gonzalez / AP

Jenkins' historic victory makes her the first openly transgender black woman ever elected to public office in the U.S.

Phillipe Cunningham

Minneapolis City Council

Image: Newly elected city council members Phillipe Cunningham, left ,and Andrea Jenkins pose after an interview
Newly elected city council members Phillipe Cunningham, left, and Andrea Jenkins pose after an interview on Nov. 9, 2017 at City Hall in Minneapolis. Jim Mone / AP file

Cunningham will join Andrea Jenkins on the Minneapolis City Council. He is the first openly transgender man to be elected to a major city's council in the U.S.

Lisa Middleton

Palm Springs City Council

Lisa Middleton.
Lisa Middleton. Courtesy of Victory Institute

Middleton is the first transgender person elected to a non-judicial office in California, according to Equality California. With the election of Middleton and openly bisexual council member Christy Holstege, who both took office earlier this month, the Palm Springs City Council is now 100 percent LGBTQ.

Stephe Koontz

Doraville City Council

Image: Stephe Koontz of Doraville City Council in Georgia
Stephe Koontz of Doraville City Council in GeorgiaCourtesy Stephe Koontz

Koontz won her seat on the Doraville City Council by just six votes, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and is now set to become Georgia's only openly transgender elected official.

Gerri Cannon

Somersworth School Board (New Hampshire)

Image: Vivian Murphy, left, and Gerri Cannon, second from left, listen during a public hearing on a bill
Vivian Murphy, left, and Gerri Cannon, second from left, listen during a public hearing on a bill that would bar discrimination based on gender identity, Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2017, in Concord, New Hampshire.Kathleen Ronayne / AP file

Cannon won a tight race to become one of the Somersworth School Board's four at-large members. According to her public LinkedIn page, Cannon plans to run for New Hampshire State Representative in 2018.

Tyler Titus

Erie School Board

Titus' victory makes him the first openly transgender person elected to public office in Pennsylvania, according to PennLive.

Raven Matherne

Stamford Board of Representatives

Matherne, 30, is believed to be Connecticut's first openly transgender lawmaker and the Stamford Board of Representatives' youngest member ever, according to the Stamford Advocate.

Jacquelyn Ryan

Southbridge School Board

Ryan was elected to Massachusetts' Southbridge School Board in June.

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