Virginia House of Delegates to address delegates as gender-neutral

- The historic election win of Virginias' first openly transgender lawmaker is prompting changes.

The Republican head of the state House of Delegates wants to change the way lawmakers are addressed.

It comes in response to questions about how delegate-elect Danica Roem, who is transgender, would be addressed.

It is tradition in the Virginia House of Delegates to refer to lawmakers as "the gentleman from" or the "the gentlewoman from," whichever district he or she represents.

If Republicans maintain their majority after the election recounts are completed, Virginia house majority leader Kirk Cox will break with that tradition, and individuals will be referred to with the gender neutral reference of "Delegate from."

We spoke with Danica Roem, the first transgender elected official in Virginia's history, for her reaction to the plan to remove gender from her title.

She says the state House of Delegates should make referring to delegates gender-neutral, but if it's for the right reasons.

"This is a case of doing the right thing for the wrong reason," she tells FOX 5.

"I think that if the intent behind it was one in which that's one thing, but when it's done after a transgender woman is elected to represent them as the gentlewoman from Prince William well then, that is a different story."

Parker Slaybaugh, the communications director for the majority leader Kirk Cox   shared a statement with FOX 5.:

"The 'Gentlelady' and 'Gentleman' terminology is outdated and that referring to everyone as 'delegate' is more timely and appropriate."

He also said that Majority Leader Cox was "considering this change well before the election."

Worth noting, the Virginia state senate already has a similar policy in place which removes gender from titles. Members are simply called the "Senator from" the district they represent. 
    

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