Danica Roem on Roy Moore's Anti-LGBT Views and Being a Positive Voice in Politics

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Danica Roem, a Democrat delegate-elect in Virginia's House of Delegates, sits in her campaign office in Manassas, Virginia. Roem said once more minorities are in power, anti-LGBT rhetoric will slow. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Danica Roem made history last month when she was elected as the first openly transgender state lawmaker in U.S. history. She sees her victory in Virginia, and the election of other minorities, as the start of a movement to stop hateful anti-LGBT rhetoric expressed by people with views similar to Roy Moore.

"Just bottom line, when we have representation, comments like that are less likely to be made because the people who would make them aren't in office anymore," Roem told Newsweek of Moore's anti-LGBT comments.

Moore, the Republican candidate for Senate from Alabama, has been under fire after being accused of sexual conduct with minors. But the judge had drawn condemnation previously with his statements about and treatment of the LGBT community, including refusing to recognize the legalization of gay marriage when he was on the Alabama Supreme Court, saying "homosexual conduct" should be illegal, saying "maybe Putin is right" about gay marriage, and working as an active opponent to transgender people's right to use their bathroom of choice.

"We don't need transgender bathrooms and we don't need transgender military and we don't need a weaker military," Moore said during a political rally. "We need to go back to what this country is about."

Despite such rhetoric, Roem says she won't participate in political attacks "because the people in the 13th District elected me to fix Route 28," she said. "They didn't elect me to be abusive. They just want me to do a good job."

That's exactly what she plans to do.

"If I have the chance to speak up for equality and inclusion, then yeah I'll do that too," she said. "You can focus on infrastructure and you can tell people 'I'm glad you're here.'"

Roem won a race over Republican Bob Marshall, who once called himself Virginia's "chief homophobe" and refused to debate her.

Several minority and LGBT candidates won local elections nationwide that were historically held by straight men. Roem says that will continue.

"What happened in 2017 is not necessarily an isolated incident, because we've learned the power of grassroots." Roem knocked on 75,000 doors to win in Virginia's 13th District.

"We've learned the power of running a people-powered campaign...I don't (support)...the idea that in 2019 everything goes away and suddenly we're not the hot ticket anymore. No, I think that if we harness this grassroots energy and we keep this sustainable that we can fundamentally change politics."

Danica Roem on Roy Moore's Anti-LGBT Views and Being a Positive Voice in Politics | U.S.