Two years after Christine Hallquist became the first openly transgender candidate to run on a major party ballot in Vermont, three other transgender women are seeking to become the state's first-ever transgender legislators.
Taylor Small, Ember Quinn, and Jamie Dufour are all first-time Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives. Small, a health and wellness director at the Pride Center of Vermont, is running for a seat representing the city of Winooski,against an incumbent Democratic representative and a third challenger.
Quinn, a substitute teacher, is running for one of two seats in Milton that are currently held by Republican incumbents.
Dufour, a small business owner, is running for a single open seat in the greater Manchester area against two other Democrats. The primary is on Aug. 11.
All three women say they were inspired by Hallquist's candidacy two years ago, but were primarily motivated to run because of a desire for change in their own hometowns, not out of any desire to be a trailblazer.
As such, the bulk of their campaign's messaging has been centered around local issues.
“I feel like we, as a progressive state, are typically very ahead of the curve, and this is one where we are recognizing that the voices represented in our legislature right now are not congruent with the voices that are across the state of Vermont,” Small told CBS affiliate WCAX.
“It's important when we, as transgender people, get to hold a position that people look up to and that kids can look up to,” Quinn added.
“I recognize that if it happens, yeah, that would be great, but it's not about me,” Dufour said of the possibility of becoming the state's first trans lawmaker.
Currently, there are only 26 transgender officials serving in any position in the United States, and only four serving in state legislatures, the most experienced being Virginia Del. Danica Roem, who won her seat in 2017.
“I am very proud of the fact that we have three transgender woman running for the Vermont Legislature this year,” Hallquist told WCAX in when asked to comment on Small, Ember and Dufour's candidacies. “I am also proud of Vermonters as we move another step forward in civil rights. As we have witnessed the racial tension across America, there is still much work to be done.”
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