Christine Hallquist Just Became the First Transgender Nominee for Governor From a Major Party

She could make history again in November.

AP Photo/Wilson Ring

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Christine Hallquist, the former chief executive of a Vermont utility firm, won the state’s Democratic primary Tuesday, becoming the first ever openly transgender nominee for governor from a major party anywhere in the country. She will face incumbent Republican Gov. Phil Scott for a chance to make history in November. 

Hallquist’s opponents in the four-way Democratic primary included James Ehlers, an outspoken environmentalist and former editor of a hunting magazine; Brenda Siegel, a grassroots activist; and Ethan Sonneborn, who is 14 years old. (Vermont has no age requirement for gubernatorial candidates.) None of the Democrats, including Hallquist, has ever held statewide office.

In Vermont, a progressive state and the first to abolish slavery and legalize same-sex marriage by legislative choice, Hallquist’s gender identity was “relegated to a non-issue,” Politico reported last week. She barely emphasized it on the campaign trail, instead focusing on her wonky signature issue: laying high-speed, fiber-optic cable statewide to ensure that even the most rural areas of Vermont have internet access. 

With a win in November, Hallquist would join a small but growing number of transgender elected officials across the country, including Virginia state lawmaker Danica Roem, whose close victory over a socially conservative Republican incumbent last year garnered international attention. Hallquist would be the first transgender elected official in Vermont. 

At least 40 transgender candidates are running for office this election cycle, spurred on in part by an increase in transgender visibility and as a reaction to President Donald Trump’s divisive rhetoric, according to Reuters. That divisiveness has extended beyond rhetoric: In March, for example, Trump signed a memorandum banning most people “with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria” from serving in the military, announcing in a tweet that the military “cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail.” And earlier this year, the Trump administration announced the creation of a new agency to protect medical professionals who refuse to treat transgender patients.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate