Vermonters broke a barrier Tuesday when they elected twenty-six year-old Taylor Small, who will become the state’s first openly transgender lawmaker.
Small will be the nation’s fifth transgender legislator when she heads to Montpelier.
“What I think has been most resounding is hearing from younger folks or transgender or gender nonconforming people here in the state of Vermont, saying, ‘Wow, I finally see a pathway for myself to move into this position of power,'” said Small.
Rep. Diana Gonzalez, Vermont’s first elected Latino, encouraged Small to run for public office.
“It’s been so fantastic to see her really step into campaigning and creating policy platforms and using all of her skill to really build connections and how to building meaningful policies,” said Gonzalez.
Gonzalez, who decided not to run for re-election, says she’s happy to see the first individual of a different demographic to represent Chittenden 6-7.
“One of the benefits of being from a marginalized group is that it helps us to see how policy really shapes our lives and how when we make policy for those of us who are most marginalized, it makes it so that everyone can flourish,” said Gonzalez.
But the inspiration doesn’t stop there. Taylor received a congratulatory Tweet from her role model Danica Roem, a member of Virginia’s House of Delegates and the first openly trans legislator in the U.S.
“Before running in ’17, we had no out trans state legislators. In ’21 we’ll have 7,” wrote Roem.
Small’s election victory comes after Delaware’s Sarah McBride becomes the first openly trans state senator, the highest office of any trans legislator in the country.
“I think the people of Winooski see that we should have, as the most diverse city, representation that is closest to democracy that we can have,” said Small.
Small says she wants to address the concerns of Winooski’s diverse and marginalized communities and enact health care reforms in response to the pandemic. In the meantime, she hopes to see more inclusive leadership in Vermont.
“Yes, having a trans identity is important and having that represented in the state legislature is historic,” she said. “But having young folks in there, having work class folks, having folks who hold multiple marginalized identities is the direction we need to be moving in to have Vermont and our Vermont legislators supporting all Vermonters.”
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