Politics

New Hampshire’s James Roesener becomes first trans man to be elected to a state legislature

"At a time of intensifying transphobia at all levels of government and society, he showed incredible courage throughout his historic campaign."

A 26-year-old from Concord, New Hampshire, this week became the first openly transgender man to be elected to a state legislature in U.S. history, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund.

Midterms 2022

Democrat James Roesener defeated Republican Dennis Soucy to represent Merrimack County District 22 in the New Hampshire House of Representatives.

With 400 members, the New Hampshire House is the largest state legislative body in the country, according to the state’s website.

In this role, Roesener will represent Ward 8 in Concord, where he resides with his wife and cat, according to his profile on the Victory Fund website.

“I was born an advocate for the underdog and have never been afraid to stand up for what I truly believe in,” he wrote on the campaign site.

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“I believe that it is imperative that all individuals have the ability to thrive in New Hampshire,” Roesener continued. “We need a leadership that is invested in defending the freedom all people by taking away barriers to shelter, education, healthcare, voting, and other basic necessities for a quality life.”

The candidate added that he plans to support legislation “that promotes the wellbeing of all by defending our right to safety, security, and self-determination, regardless of age, race, immigration status, occupation, income, gender identity, sexual orientation, health, or ability.”

Roesener told The Concord Monitor that he was driving home from work Tuesday night when he received a text message that he had won. As he saw the text, the song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister reportedly started playing on the radio.

Though this was his first campaign, Roesener explained to the newspaper how he has been thinking about running for office for awhile now, “and combined with the rampant onslaught on what I feel like is a myriad of basic human rights, and being in a position in my life where I can dedicate that time, it was kind of a no brainer to me.”

Roesener’s historic win was shared on social media by many media outlets and LGBTQ organizations.

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The election win comes at a time when bills specifically targeting trans people are at their highest number. More anti-trans legislation has been filed this year than any other year in U.S. history, The Washington Post reported.

On Tuesday, Mayor Annise Parker, president and CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund, issued a statement, writing “Tonight is a resounding win for New Hampshire and for trans people across the country, with James shattering a lavender ceiling and proving that America is ready for trans men leaders in our state legislatures. From safeguarding reproductive rights to increasing investment in New Hampshire’s education and health care systems, James is well prepared to enact legislation that will deliver lasting results for his community.

“At a time of intensifying transphobia at all levels of government and society, he showed incredible courage throughout his historic campaign,” Parker continued. “Trans people — and trans men in particular — remain severely underrepresented in government at every level, but we are confident his win will inspire many more trans people to run for office.”

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