Vermont elects its first openly transgender lawmaker

Nov 3 2020, 8:12 PM
Taylor Small, shown in a photo July 20, has been elected Vermont’s first openly transgender state legislator. File photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

Progressive/Democratic candidate Taylor Small has become Vermont’s first openly transgender lawmaker, winning a Winooski House seat.

Incumbent Rep. Hal Colston, D-Winooski, also won re-election. Colston was the top vote-getter, according to Winooski’s unofficial results, with 2,320 votes. Small finished second in the two-seat district, with 2,212 votes. 

Independent James Ehlers finished third, and out of the running, with 802 votes. 

Small replaces Rep. Diana Gonzalez, P-Winooski, who decided not to run for re-election.

There are now four openly transgender lawmakers serving in state legislatures and at least 16 other openly transgender people who are running for state office around the country. The LGBTQ Victory fund celebrated Small’s win in a press release, calling it a historic victory.

“The impact of Taylor’s groundbreaking victory cannot be overstated,” Victory Fund President and CEO Mayor Annise Parker wrote in a statement. “There are so few transgender people in elected office that nearly every win is a historic one, yet with each barrier broken comes more trans people inspired to do the same.”

Small is director of health and wellness at the Winooski Pride Center and has made equitable access to health care a priority of her campaign. She supports a single-payer model for Vermont. 

“I am ecstatic to know that this has happened,” Small said. “And that it shows not only the direction the people of Winooski want to go in, the progressive direction, is at the state level too, where we want to go with all our candidates.”  it proves Vermont will continue protecting LGBTQ rights, Small said.

Openly transgender Democratic candidate Ember Quinn is also vying for a House seat in Milton against two Republican incumbents. That race has not yet been called. 

Grace Elletson