Making HERstory: Andrea Jenkins First Openly Trans P.O.C. in U.S. Public Office
Andrea Jenkins was elected to the Minneapolis City Council Tuesday night, making her the first openly trans woman of color in U.S. Public Office. Jenkins won 73% of the votes against three other candidates for Minneapolis' 8th Ward. She ran a fierce campaign advocating for minimum wage increase, police reform, and affordable housing. Jenkins also gained campaign endorsements from Congressmen Keith Ellison and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Jenkins is currently conducting the Transgender Oral History Project at the University of Minnesota. This project includes 194 transgender and gender nonconforming people opening up about their experiences in society, which will be used for historians and the general public. “One of the reasons we take that approach is because transgender people have been undercover for so long. They didn’t have… artifacts and factual records,” says Jenkins. “We had to go out and collect those stories, digitize them and make them available online." Jenkins hopes to conduct 200 interviews before taking her well-deserved seat on the council.
This victory came the same night as the victory of Danica Roem of Virginia, who was elected in state legislature as the first openly transgender person elected. In her victory speech Jenkins said, “as an African-American trans-identified woman, I know firsthand the feeling of being marginalized, left out, thrown under the bus. Those days are over. We don’t just want a seat at the table, we want to set the table.”