Christine Hallquist became the first openly transgender person to win a state-level electoral party nomination in U.S. history as she accepted Tuesday's primary election for Vermont governor.
She defeated three other Democrats and will take on incumbent Governor Phil Scott, a Republican, in the November 6 general elections.
The win "is a defining moment in the movement for trans equality," Annise Parker, president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, which seeks to elect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender candidates, said in a statement.
Transgender candidates are hoping to build on the breakthrough year of 2017 when a record-breaking 10 won office across the country at levels ranging from state legislator to zoning board.
This year, 43 transgender candidates have run for political office at all levels of government, most for the Democratic party and others as independents, according to Logan Casey, a research associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The trend is heartening as it pushes back on President Donald Trump’s attempt to reinstate a ban against transgender people in the military, his nominating multiple anti-LGBTQ people to the courts and judicial positions, and refusing to recognize Pride Month.
Hallquist is the first openly transgender candidate to win a major party nomination for governor or a statewide office of any kind.
She has kept her given name, David, as her middle name and has spoken openly about her previous gender identity and transition, which was documented in a 2015 film by her son Derek Hallquist called 'Denial.' "Now that it's no longer a secret, it's incredibly peaceful," she said of her transition.
Vermont has a history of being first on gender-related issues. It was the first state to allow civil unions for same-sex couples in 2000 and in 2009 became the first U.S. state to legalize gay marriage through the state legislature.