First Openly Transgender Black Woman Elected to Public Office in the U.S.

A candidate for Minneapolis City Council became the first openly transgender black woman elected to public office in the U.S. on Tuesday evening , LGBTQ advocacy groups and researchers said.

Jenkins, who has been elected to the Minneapolis City Council, became the second openly transgender candidate to win a race Tuesday night. Democrat Danica Roem is poised to be the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature in the country, beating a 13-term Virginia incumbent who called himself the state’s “chief homophobe” and who introduced a “bathroom bill” earlier this year that would have restricted the bathrooms his opponent could use. Virginia House of Delegates candidate Danica Roem, a biological male who changed his legal sex from male to female and dresses as a woman, defeated the GOP incumbent Rep. Robert Marshall to become the first openly-transgender elected to public office. During the campaign, Roem supported teaching kindergartners that people can change their sex in an “age-appropriate” fashion.

Jenkins, a former policy aide to Minneapolis council Vice President Elizabeth Glidden, defeated three other candidates in the race.

“As an out African-American trans-identified woman, I know first-hand the feeling of being marginalized, left out, thrown under the bus. Those days are over. We don’t just want a seat at the table — we want to set the table,” Jenkins said in a statement released by her campaign Wednesday.
Andrea Jenkins, a biological male who lives as a female, won 73 percent of the vote in Minneapolis’s Eighth Ward, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Jenkins is a poet, activist and historian who is passionate about social issues, in part because of her experience as a transgender woman. She won a 2011 Bush Fellowship to work on transgender issues, and currently curates the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota. There, she has interviewed 194 people about their experiences as transgender and gender nonconforming people, recording their conversations so that historians and the public can access primary source material about the transgender community.

She said the project is one of the largest of its kind, and that she hopes to reach 200 interviews by the time she takes her position on the council.