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Journalist Danica Roem is running for the Virginia House of Delegates against incumbent Del. Bob Marshall (R), a man who both refuses to debate her and has repeatedly gone on the record misgendering Roem. So Roem fired back with an ad, showing her morning routine as a transgender woman.
In the video, Roem walks into a bathroom and takes spironolactone and estradiol, two pills commonly prescribed to trans women during hormone replacement therapy, and applies makeup before continuing her day. Meanwhile, a voiceover from Roem discusses how her gender identity “shouldn’t be a big deal” and “shouldn’t be newsworthy or political” during the election.
“There are millions of transgender people in this country and we all deserve representation in government,” she says in the ad. “So when I stand up on the Statehouse floor and the speaker says ‘the gentlewoman from Manassas,’ LGBTQ kids everywhere will know they can succeed because of who they are, not despite it.”
Roem’s video does a pretty good job of capturing transgender women’s daily morning routines, down to depicting the pills most American trans women use every day. The ad also comes with a strong condemnation against Marshall, who repeatedly misgendered Roem and asked a reporter, “Why do you call Danica a female? Did Danica’s DNA change?”
“When Del. Marshall said that, his lack of understanding and empathy weren’t just disrespectful toward me personally,” Roem wrote in a statement republished by Blue Virginia. “He once again attacked every person in our community, including the teenagers in this video, who he’s singled out and stigmatized through his 26 years of discriminatory social policies designed to tear our community apart instead of unite us around our common needs.”
In response, Roem hopes the ad reaches people throughout the LGBTQ community and lifts them up in the face of bigotry in the United States.
“I hope this ad inspires everyone in our community—no matter what they look like, where they come from, how they worship or who they love—to celebrate their authentic sense of self in a more welcoming environment and a more inclusive commonwealth,” Roem said.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.