Thursday, November 09, 2017

Who’s On First?

Or when a tree falls in the woods does it make a sound?

Or when a trans woman is elected to office and no one knew that she was trans does that make her the first trans woman elected to office?
Before Danica Roem, Althea Garrison was the first trans woman elected to state legislature in 1992
Daily Kos
By Wagatwe
November 8, 2017

Last night, Democrat Danica Roem was elected to Virginia’s House of Delegates—making her the first trans woman to serve in the state’s legislature. While this is a historic win, it’s important for us to use proper context. Many people (and news organizations) have been saying Roem’s the first transgender women in US history to serve in a state legislature.

That is not correct.

Meet Althea Garrison. She was elected to Massachusetts’s state legislature in 1992 and served for one term from 1993-1995.

In 2012 post at the blog TransGriot, Monica Roberts writes a little bit about Garrison’s history.
Althea Garrison was born in Hahira, GA on October 7, 1940 and moved to Boston to attend beauty school.  She went on to enroll at Newbury Junior College and received an associate's degree. Garrison later received a B.S. degree in administration from Suffolk University, an M.S. degree in management from Lesley College and a certificate in special studies in administration and management from Harvard University in 1984.

Although Althea has never publicly announced her trans status or talked about it, we are aware that people who transitioned during that more restrictive HBIDGA era were advised to never let anyone know their trans status and live their lives. In 1976 her name change petition was approved and filed in the Suffolk County Courthouse"consistent with [her] appearance and medical condition."
Offering a friendly reminder to keep an accurate account of our history. Black and trans people are often overlooked and actively erased from the history books. Let’s do our part to actively combat that.
So what it boils down to is a matter of semantics. Danica Roem was the first “out” trans woman elected to office.

I think Danica Roem’s election was a more important one, everyone knew that she was trans and it didn’t matter to the vote. I am not says Althea Garrison election was important, she still is the first trans elected to office but the fact that she wasn’t out does make a difference.

1 comment:

Richard Nelson said...

I congratulate Ms. Roem on her election. One thing is certain that if one talks about what the voters need as she did then one has a chance against a person who will not debate and only can say, "the bathroom, the bathroom, what about the bathroom." Most folks would rather have their problems solved and realize that folks are in the bathroom for either # 1 or #2 just like they are. If our bridges, highways, are falling apart, if there are no jobs, if folks are being cut from insurance and if more and more money is going to the top then speak to that. People won't care if a person is LGBT. Most likely it will be like the woman I saw interviewed who said, Miss Roem speaks to what I am concerned with, I don't care what bathroom she uses. We have seen over the years what "they" can do now let's show them that we can do it better.