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This Documentary on Danica Roem’s Campaign Will Warm Your Heart and Remind You We Can Win

Broadly sent Diana Tourjée, their beat reporter covering issues that face the trans community, down to Manassas, Virginia for the last 48 hours of Danica Roem’s historic campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates. Roem unseated the incumbent Bob Marshall, a transphobe and homophobe who had introduced a “bathroom bill” and repeatedly misgendered Roem during the campaign, by focusing on transportation issues. While in Virginia, Tourjée spent time with Roem and her hundreds of volunteers. The result was the above documentary, which captures both the everyday political practicalities of a state legislature run and the far-reaching significance of Roem’s candidacy.

The documentary is full of the drab, crucial realities of running a campaign—driving to remote neighborhoods, hiking up driveways to knock on doors, and caring about oft-unseen issues like infrastructure. It captures Roem’s determination and likability, as well as the passion of her army of volunteers. And it’s also sprinkled with moments that remind you just how important this win is.

For example, early on in the documentary, Tourjée, a trans woman herself, says, “I wouldn’t want to run for public office in the town where I grew up.” Later, driving in the car with Roem, she asks. “Why stay here?”

Roem frowns as if the answer is obvious. “Because it’s my home.”

In addition, a young trans girl, Clara, and her mother talk about how discovering Roem’s candidacy helped them through a horrible time with school bullying and depression. “I can be president one day,” Clara says, “Or do the same thing Danica did.”

As Tourjée wrote in her moving piece about the experience, “On the anniversary of [Trump’s election], Roem’s win was a sliver of light—one that I believe is reflective of a larger resistance. Over and over, I heard Roem own this sentiment: I’m going to win because of who I am, not despite who I am.” 

I loved a lot of things about this documentary: its look at the grassroots work of state-level campaigning, its portrait of trans life in a small Southern town, its interviews with volunteers, the fact that Roem is every metalhead girl you know. But most of all, I loved how it reminds us we can win this.

(Featured image via YouTube thumbnail)

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