OutPower

2018: Another Year of the Trans Candidate?

In 2017, multiple trans men and trans women ran for office across the country. Many media outlets deemed it the year of the trans candidate, and that it was a sign that the Trump administration’s policies were not welcomed by Americans. The two candidates last year to garner the most press, Andrea Jenkins of Minnesota, and Danica Roem of Virginia, are both alumni of Victory Institute’s Candidate and Campaign Training (CCT). Two candidates who are running for office this year recently completed our training less than a week ago, Brianna Titone of Colorado and Alanis Garcia of Florida. Each are running for their respective state houses. Since I myself have also become a recent alum of the training, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to these fabulous candidates. I reached out and asked if they’d be interested in answering some questions for me, and they were kind enough to say yes! These candidates are certainly qualified and have what it takes to run for office.

First is Brianna Titone of Colorado:

What originally inspired you to run for office?

I’ve always been a do-gooder. Since high school, I was a volunteer firefighter and I’ve continued to volunteer for my community since then. I had plans on becoming a law enforcement officer before coming out, so I could do good things for my community. Today, I am the HOA president and a volunteer for a group of interdisciplinary scientists that assists law enforcement with solving cases. Once I came out as trans, I had a new-found confidence. I considered running for office but didn’t think I would be accepted. After seeing Danica Roem and others get elected in 2017, I not only knew it was possible, but it was necessary for more people like me to be elected, so I stood to and volunteered.

As a trans person running for office, what challenges do you face that other people do not face?

Talking to people on the phone that I don’t know is challenging. I don’t sound like a “Brianna” to those on the other end and they are often confused and second guess what I say my name is. There are still a lot of people out there that really don’t accept trans people as people and I am expecting some harsh negative ads attacking my humanity that most people won’t experience.

How do your identities (whether it be as a trans person or as a racial/ethnic minority, etc.) intersect with your campaign? Do they at all?

I am trying to downplay being trans because it’s not relevant for the campaign. I have a conservative district to win over, so I focus on my accomplishments while in the district knocking doors. While I’m out fundraising, I use people’s excitement of electing a trans woman to office to help generate more donations. It’s a tricky balance.

Something not politics-related: What do you like to do for fun? What are some interests/things about you that perhaps people won’t get to see out on the campaign trail?

I’m a Geologist so I have a pretty neat rock and mineral collection. When I have time, I like to run with friends and did my first marathon (a trail race) in 2016. I love Colorado for all the outside activities that are available.  I enjoy cooking and recreating old family recipes. I’m also into the arts, creating photography, oil paintings, and an occasional rock carving.

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Next is Alanis Garcia of Florida:

What originally inspired you to run for office?

A friend who volunteered with the county Democrats put up posts asking for people to run.  I half jokingly suggested I would thinking a trans woman wouldn’t be acceptable as a candidate in SWFL. She said why not?  I thought about it was afraid to do it then Stoneman Douglas happened.   If all those kids could go against such opposition and make changes I didn’t have the right to be too afraid.

As a trans person running for office, what challenges do you face that other people do not face?

A few.

  1. I had to jump through a few hoops that delayed my campaign some in order to be registered in my name.
  2. I get asked if I’m running for trans people?  Does a cis person get asked if they are running for the cis community?
  3. C. It hasn’t happened yet but I expect to be misgendered and dead named and know there will be a percentage of those who will think I’m a freak or abomination.

How do your identities (whether it be as a trans person or as a racial/ethnic minority, etc.) intersect with your campaign? Do they at all?

I have faced some bigotry as a trans person, the flight here today started off with enhanced security screening because my crouch registered as abnormal by the X-ray scanners.  Still, 80% of the time I’m seen as a woman and I can hide if needed.  The issues I have faced are small compared to those of color, handicapped, or other discriminated classes of people.  I fight in my campaign for those who aren’t treated right.

Something not politics-related: What do you like to do for fun? What are some interests/things about you that perhaps people won’t get to see out on the campaign trail?

I am very comfortable being home alone reading and playing video games. I often think I’m an introvert but have learned how to push myself out there and I think not a lot of people see my introverted side.

Keep an eye out for these two wonderful candidates and help support their campaigns! In 2018 LGBTQ people are going to help lead the resistance against the current administration. Learn more about our trainings at the LGBTQ Victory Institute here.

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