Christine Hallquist makes history as first openly transgender gubernatorial candidate

christineforvt/Twitter pfpicardi/Twitter (Fair Use) Remix by Samantha Grasso

She’s going to ‘tear it up, sister!’

Last night, Democratic candidate Christine Hallquist made history by cinching the nomination for governor in Vermont, making her the country’s first openly transgender gubernatorial candidate for a major party.

According to the New York Times, Hallquist beat out three other candidates in her race. Prior to her political career, Hallquist was the CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative, a position during which she transitioned in 2015. Parts of her stump speech drew from her experiences as presenting as a woman for the first time, sharing the sexism she faced in the boardroom and on the street after she transitioned.

“I remember the first time after transitioning, a stranger walking by told me to smile—I’m like, ‘Who the heck are you to tell me to smile?'” Hallquist said. “What my transition has taught me is just how far we have to go.”

Hallquist will now run against Republican incumbent Phil Scott, who was found by Vermont public media organizations to be favorable with nearly half of Democrats in the progressive state. She reportedly voted for Scott in 2016 but is tying her own candidacy to the nationwide backlash following that year’s presidential election.

“Tonight, we made history,” Hallquist said at her election night party. “I am so proud to be the face of the Democrats tonight.”

Across Twitter, Hallquist’s supporters and allies of the transgender community have cheered on her gubernatorial nomination.

Many took Hallquist’s nomination as a sign of progress for the country, amid the Trump administration attempting to remove protections and freedoms for transgender students and service members, and several states across the country legislating the use of restrooms by transgender people.

Some reminded those celebrating that Hallquist is the first openly transgender gubernatorial candidate for a major party. Other transgender folks may have been nominated before but weren’t out at the time and have yet to publicly come out.


On Twitter, Hallquist thanked her supporters and other Democratic 2018 candidates who she’ll be running alongside come November.

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso

Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.