Virginia lieutenant governor misgenders trans senator Danica Roem, calling her ‘sir’

Virginia’s lieutenant governor has apologised and said she hadn’t meant to offend transgender state senator Danica Roem when she misgendered her recently.

During a procedure on the state senate floor, on Monday (26 February), Roem, asked Republican lieutenant governor Winsome Earle-Sears a question. 

Earle-Sears answered but addressed the senator as “sir.” Democrat Roem then left the chamber. 

After two recesses and initially refusing to issue a statement, Earle-Sears offered an apology, saying there was “no intent to offend” when she made the remark. She claimed she had misspoken, the Progress-Index reported. 

“I understand senator Roem is upset,” Earle-Sears said. “I’m not here to upset anyone, I’m here to do the job the people of Virginia have called me to do, and that is to treat everyone with respect and dignity.” 

A spokesperson for Roem, who made political history when she became the first out transgender person elected as a state representative in the US, told the outlet that there were “no current plans to make a statement today”. 

In a press release published by Blue Virginia, advocacy organisation Progress Virginia described Roem as “gracious in the face of the lieutenant governor’s disrespect” and denounced the fact she had to “deal with that nonsense in her workplace”.

LaTwyla Mathias, the executive director of Progress Virginia, said: “We support senator Roem and every other LGBTQ+ community member who has to face this kind of unprofessional conduct from people in power.

“Winsome Sears’ tired old bigotry is a relic of a previous age, and we applaud senator Roem and other progressive voices in the general assembly for their continued work to move our commonwealth forward.”

Who is Danica Roem?

Roem became the first out trans senator in the state of Virginia last year. She’s only the second out transgender person ever elected to a US state senate, following in the footsteps of Delaware’s Sarah McBride

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