Demi Lovato brought Danica Roem, America’s first openly transgender state legislator, as her guest to the American Music Awards on Sunday, as part of the pop star’s message against bullying.
Lovato attended the AMAs to sing “Sorry Not Sorry,” a song directed to the people who bullied her in school. When she heard about Roem’s victory over Del. Robert Marshall, a longtime opponent of the LGBTQ community, in Virginia’s elections earlier this month, she was so inspired by Roem’s story that she asked her to attend the awards with her.
“My story with ‘Sorry Not Sorry’ is about bullying, and I wanted to have her in the audience with me tonight because I feel like we have been through some of the same things, and now we get to share this experience together,” Lovato told E! in an interview on the red carpet.
Roem took to Twitter to announce her attendance at the awards show, which she said was a “super last-minute request.”
“So I’m m on a plane for a super last-minute request to talk about inclusion & bullying prevention at the AMAs. I spent 16 months working to make our schools more inclusive, so I’m happy to take it up,” she tweeted, adding that she’d be back in Virginia in time for a school board meeting at 7:30 a.m. on Monday morning.
Roem, a lifelong Manassas-area resident, was one of the community members who advocated for the adoption of a pro-LGBTQ nondiscrimination policy in Prince William County Public Schools, even prior to announcing her candidacy.
Despite some stops and stutters along the way, the county’s school board eventually approved the policy, which prevents discrimination against LGBTQ students, teachers, and other school district employees.
When asked about her coming inauguration as a member of the House of Delegates on January 10, Roem told E! she was overwhelmed by the support from Lovato and others.
“I’m also really grateful that Demi has spent her career advocating for people who need a voice when they feel voiceless,” Roem said, “and that she understands that no matter what you look like, where you come from, how you worship, or who you love, you should be welcomed and celebrated because of who you are, not despite it.”
Lovato was also asked about being named as one of People Magazine’s “25 Women Changing the World,” which she said was “amazing and incredible,” though she added that she thought Roem should be added to the list as well.
“I just want to be a good delegate,” Roem responded, getting in a plug for her signature campaign issue, adding, “I just want to fix Route 28, not gonna lie.”
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