Connect with us


Danica Roem seeks 3rd term in Virginia State House

Roem in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S.



Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) speaks to supporters (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

MANASSAS PARK – Virginia state Del. Danica Roem (D-Manassas) launched her 2021 re-election campaign Tuesday, promising to continue the work she’s started. Roem in 2018 became the first openly transgender person seated in any state legislature in the U.S. 

Roem said she has pushed for LGBTQ equality, helped pass Medicaid expansion in Virginia, and led efforts to provide school meals for thousands of kids across the state since she took office. She said she is running for her third term in order to continue pushing for progressive change in her state. 

“I’ve been working to make Virginia a more inclusive commonwealth since my first campaign,” she said in an interview. “And we’ve got a lot to show for it but we still have a lot of work to do. That’s what my campaign is going to be about—continuing that work.”

Democrats in 2019 took the majority in both houses of the General Assembly for the first time in decades. This allowed the party to pass progressive reforms like the Virginia Values Act, which added sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination protections. 

One of Roem’s focuses through her first and second term was increasing access to food for children through Virginia’s schools. When the pandemic hit in March, she fought, and ultimately won, a battle to change a USDA policy that required students to come in-person to pick up free meals during school closures, arguing that the rule was endangering children with compromised immune systems. Roem has also sponsored legislation to make free and reduced-priced lunches and breakfasts more accessible for students. 

“My goal going forward is really making sure we are addressing systemic inequality and systemic barriers to access when it comes to food security throughout Virginia,” she said. “I’m a 36-year-old Italian stepmom—I want to feed everyone. I want to continue to prioritize giving food to those who need it.”

Roem also campaigned on Medicaid expansion in 2017 and in May 2018, the legislation passed, allowing more than 400,000 Virginians to get healthcare through Medicaid. Now for her re-election campaign, she said she is going to continue to advocate for expanded healthcare options. Roem also spearheaded legislation to require insurance companies to cover essential procedures for trans patients.

She has been able to be so productive in office, she said, because of her ability to work with other delegates in a bipartisan manner. But to critics who accuse her of over-compromising, she said they just need to look at the policies she’s put in place during her tenure in office. 

“You don’t carry a transgender health bill through if you’re letting the conservatives run rampant,” she said with a small laugh. “You don’t have to compromise your integrity and your values to work with someone of a different party on some stuff because odds are, you can probably find some common ground.”

On a national scale, Roem has led and inspired a wave of other trans candidates to run for public office. In the 2020 elections, eight openly trans and gender non-conforming candidates were either elected or re-elected to their state legislatures. 

But in a country that often seems more divided than ever, Roem said she focuses on doing her job to serve her community. 

“I’m a proud Democrat and I represent all of my constituents, regardless of whether or not they voted for me,” she said. “Every time I do my job well, people can say, ‘My delegate is transgender and they’re really good at their job.’ Not ‘but’—‘and’. I don’t have to defend who I am to anyone. I acknowledge who I am and I’m good at my job.”

However, Roem said that vicious transphobic attacks by her political opponents have followed her since she announced her first campaign. When she took office, Republicans ended a 400-year tradition of referring to each other as “gentlemen” and “gentlewomen” and changed it to address themselves as only “delegates” to avoid acknowledging Roem’s gender. 

One memorable moment, Roem said, was when members of the Westboro Baptist Church staged protests outside of the capitol building in March 2019. The church members were met by a crowd of counter-protesters, armed with kazoos to drown out the church’s hate. 

After the protest, Roem raised more than $34,000, using the hashtag #westborobackfire to spread her message around social media. 

“You turn it into money, and you turn it into votes,” she said, referring to the hate. “I’ve been dealing with bigoted bullshit for almost four years now. If you’re a trans candidate running for office in any other state, look at what we’ve done. Flip the script on their bigotry, make it work for you.”

Following President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in last week’s election, Roem said she is hopeful the nation is moving in the right direction to begin healing. 

“We are at the very least going to stop the bleeding,” she said of Biden taking office. “What’s the first rule of getting out of a hole? Stop digging. On Jan. 20, we are no longer going to be digging.”

Continue Reading

Community Services - PSA

LA County Parks winter classes are happening NOW!

Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill, pick up a hobby or instrument or simply be more active, there’s a class for everyone



Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES – LA County Parks is here to make your 2022 memorable. If you have not yet taken one of our classes, now is the time to register! Meet us safely outdoors at a park near you or join a class virtually from the comfort of your own home.

Whether you’re looking to learn a new skill, pick up a hobby or instrument or simply be more active, there’s a class for everyone. We offer a wide range of classes (held outdoors or virtually) for all ages.


Here are just a few of the many classes we offer!

  • Arts & Culture: Music Mondays 🎵 Family & Me Music Class  
  • Computers and Technology: Become a Roblox Developer 💻 
  • Exercise and Fitness: Morning Senior Stretching (Virtual), Adrienne’s Salsa Cardio (Virtual) and Jay’s Fitness 365 Athletes ️ 
  • Health & Wellness: Brain Fit for Work and Life (Virtual), Integrating Essential Oils into your Everyday Life (Virtual) 🌱, Sound Bowl Healing Meditation  
  • Martial Arts: Karate and San Do Kai Karate  
  • Performing Arts, Music & Culture: Acting for the Camera (Virtual) 🎭, Ballet and Tap Dancing, Ballroom & Latin Dance 💃 and Modern Middle Eastern Belly Dance 
  • Special Interest Classes: Build, Paint & Race An Army Battle Tank, How to Become a Certified Livescan Provider (Virtual), Intro to Fashion Design (Virtual) 👗, Parent & Child Red Cross CPR, First Aid, AED and more 
  • Sports: Badminton, All Level Softball Clinics and European Tennis Academy 🎾


Our quick and easy 24/7 online registration system Active Net allows you to manage everyone’s schedule through a single household account. Sign up for Winter Classes for yourself, partner and children from your smartphone or computer. To learn more about Active Net, visit  

COVID-19 Safety Guidelines for In-person Classes:
The health and well-being of park guests and staff is our top priority. In accordance with LA County Public Health, currently masks are required at all times for all participants.  Participants must maintain six feet physical distance from the instructor and staff at all times.

Follow LA County Parks on social media: Facebook and Twitter/Instagram/TikTok @lacountyparks.

Share your experience using #LearnSomethingNew at #LACountyParks.  

Continue Reading

Community Services - PSA

We’re Hiring! Become a LA County Pool Lifeguard!

Candidates will get paid for a 64-hour training which includes becoming certified though the American Red Cross in Emergency Medical Response



Castaic Sports Complex Aquatic Center (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – LA County Department of Parks and Recreation is hiring! This summer, the Department aims to hire over 250 new lifeguards to work at our 30 aquatic facilities, all across LA County. Not only is lifeguarding a fantastic way to kickstart your career, but it’s a great opportunity for young adults looking for part time employment while in school or looking for a career as a first responder.

Pool Lifeguards will receive a starting pay of $18.27, well above the minimum wage with opportunities to work year round. Applicants must be 17 years of age by time of appointment.

Those who meet the initial requirements will then be required to sign up and pass the Los Angeles County Swim Test. The Los Angeles County Swim Test consists of a 500-yard swim test that must be completed under 10 minutes. Upon completion of the test they will be invited to Pool Lifeguard Academy.

Candidates will get paid for a 64-hour training which includes becoming certified though the American Red Cross in Emergency Medical Response, CPR, AED, Lifeguarding, and First Aid.


Our Aquatics team is eager to help as many prospective candidates and interested students start a career path that can provide them with so many opportunities beyond lifeguarding!

Those who are interested in becoming a Pool Lifeguard are encouraged to attend an online “Open House” session to learn more about the position and answer questions.


Session 1: January 19, 6pm
or call in:+13237766996,,17084440#

Session 2: January 25,  5pm
or call in: +13237766996,,573214358#

Session 3: January 26,  4pm
or call in: +13237766996,,602797897#


Continue Reading

Community Services - PSA

Missing woman in WeHo, public’s help sought



Graphic via the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

WEST HOLLYWOOD – The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is asking for resident’s assistance in locating thirty-year-old Dalia Taqali who disappeared from West Hollywood Sunday night.

Taqali was last seen around 5 p.m. in the 1100 block of North Genesee Avenue, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Taqali is developmentally disabled and suffers from dissociative identity disorder, the Sheriff’s Department stated.

Taqali’s family is concerned for her well-being and is asking for help finding her.

Investigators said she may be headed near the area of Sunset Boulevard and North Curson Avenue in Hollywood.

Taqali stands 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs about 110 pounds with long brown hair and brown eyes.

She was last seen wearing a black hoodie, green backpack, black purse and blue stud earrings on both ears.

Authorities also said Taqali has a scar on her abdominal area and is missing a front tooth.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 323-890-5500. Those who prefer to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

Continue Reading

Follow Us @LosAngelesBlade

Sign Up for Blade eBlasts