1st Openly Transgender State Legislator!
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA – Congratulations to Virginia’s first openly transgender elected official! Virginia House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem, a Democrat, has defeated longtime Incumbent Robert Marshall, a Republican.
According to LGBT advocate groups, Roem, 33 years old, is also the United States first openly transgender person to be elected and seated in a state legislature, advocates say.
Roem will take over for Marshall a man who referred to himself as Virginia’s “chief homophobe.” While in office, Marshall drafted Virginia’s “Physical Privacy Act,” a controversial bill that would require trans-persons to use the restroom that corresponded with the sex on their birth certificate. Moreover, during the election Marshall refused to debate Roem publicly and allowed his election campaign to refer to Roem by her birth gender rather than acknowledging that she is a woman.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said about the election, “[that the Human Rights Campaign] was proud to mobilize voters to support Danica Roem’s trailblazing candidacy, and we look forward to working with her to help continue moving equality forward in Virginia,”
Clearly Roem’s big win will send a huge message to anti-equality and anti-LGBT lawmakers across the nation this week. Leaders and lawmakers must be inclusive all groups and work to establish laws that support equality for all Americans.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) interprets and enforces Title VII‘s prohibition of sex discrimination as forbidding any employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. These protections apply regardless of any contrary state or local laws and many states have statutes that go far beyond Title VII. For instance, New York State residents receive LGBT-related and same-sex marriage protections under a variety of state and local laws.
One of these important laws is the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (“SONDA”). As of 2003, SONDA makes it unlawful for anyone in New York State to be discriminated against in employment, housing, credit, education and public accommodations because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation.
Furthermore, throughout the state of New York there are many local laws—like in New York City, the City of Ithaca, the City of Albany, the City of Rochester and numerous counties— that set up additional protections.
If you feel like you have been a victim of unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment, call the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC. Our New York and Philadelphia sexual harassment attorneys work diligently to protect the civil rights of our clients in both the workplace and in the classroom. Whether you are in New York City or Philadelphia, our attorneys have settled cases with large corporations and major universities and they may be able to help you too. Give our talented discrimination attorneys a call at (800) 807-2209 for your free consultation.


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About Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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