Althea Garrison was the first

Massachusetts State Representative, Althea Garrison. File photo.

by Mahkesha Hogg
LGBT+ Black Issues Columnist

The first openly trans person to be elected and hold office in the United States is Danica Roem. Congrats to Danica on her historic win in Virginia.

However, don’t forget Althea Garrison. She was an African American trans woman elected who actually held office although, when elected, she was not openly trans.

According to Snopes, Garrison was elected to the House of Representatives for the state of Massachusetts in 1992 as a Republican. A Republican, you ask? Yes, a Republican. That in itself is interesting. She went stealth which means that she did not disclose her gender identity as trans and passed as a woman.

She only served one termed because she was outed as trans. She was outed by a man who would be the future campaign strategist for Mitt Romney. Gag.

I kind of expected her career to be targeted, but nevertheless Garrison still runs for office, although she has not successfully captured any victories. At 77, she is very smart with a Harvard degree.

I hope she continues to fight for people.

Some news sources have given her flack about not being the first out and open transgender person to win a state position, but that is really none of their business. I imagine that she wanted people to solely focus on her abilities and not her gender identity.

Can you imagine running as openly trans in the early 90’s? I would fear for my life. The bravery and the determination she shows to continue to run for office gives all of us inspiration.

During the 90’s, one of the things that was outed about Garrison was her deadname. A deadname is the name that the trans person was born with. It is not to be used again in reference to that person after they have chosen their new name. One should never use a deadname because it is hurtful and it reminds them of a person that society wanted and not who they were born to be.

The only issue that I have with Garrison is that she was not in favor of marriage equality. I do not understand why but it just shows that trans people do not all think alike and are not one-dimensional.

I will note that she ran her latest race to become a Boston City Council member, a nonpartisan office.

Regardless, she will always be the first and thank goodness will not be the last. I have added her to the long list of trans heroes of color.

Copyright The Gayly – December 5, 2017 @ 7:25 a.m. CST.