On a liberal island in the middle of a sea of conservative red, a transgender woman is set to shake up Tennessee politics. Will a historic election turn the state’s voting tide? Here is the full story.
She Had a Goal
When Olivia Hill set out to gain a seat on the metro council in Nashville, Tennessee, her main focus was on helping repair the city’s sagging infrastructure.
A Veteran Engineer
An engineer by training, Hill had 36 years of experience under her belt.
That tenure included 10 years as a U.S. Navy engineer.
Supporting Future Growth
Hill knew she had the eye and expertise to champion legislation that could make the backbone of the city sound enough to support future growth.
She Wanted to Make History
But Hill also knew she had the chance to make history, and she didn’t shy away from the challenges involved.
First Mission Accomplished
In the middle of September, Hill accomplished the first leg of her goal, winning the council seat by taking 12.9% of the vote, according to NBC News.
She Made History
And, as reported by the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, Hill became the first transgender woman elected to any office in the state of Tennessee in the process.
Close to Home
Born and raised in Nashville, Hill stayed close to home for much of her career.
Dream Turned Nightmare
Eventually, she ended up as a professor at nearby Vanderbilt University.
But if she ever considered that post a dream job, Hill eventually found herself in the middle of a nightmare.
They Settled Their Differences
Citing “intense workplace discrimination,” Hill sued the University in September of 2021, with the two sides eventually settling out of court.
She Left It Behind
Hill then retired from the University in December of 2021.
An Outspoken Advocate
Before and after that career change, Hill has been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights.
Prior to her recent election, she served as a member of the Tennessee Pride Chamber board of directors.
She Has a Lot on Her Shoulders
While stressing that the infrastructure will be her main focus as a new council member, Hill also acknowledges that her historic standing brings other responsibilities.
No One Will Put Her in a Closet
“I also want to ensure that our city is represented with true diversity in a state where the ruling party thinks I should head to the closet,” Hill said in a press statement following her election.
Women Rule Nashville
When Hill takes her seat at the table, women will make up the majority of the Nashville metro council.
Progressive Nashville Voters
Those changing dynamics point to forward thinking by Nashville voters, says LGBTQ+ Victory Fund president and CEO Annise Parker.
No Hate Allowed
“Nashville voters clearly reject the hateful rhetoric that has grown louder in Tennessee politics lately,” Parker said, referencing recent state legislation targeted at reducing trans rights.
State Laws Target Trans People
Among the new laws that restrict trans freedoms are statutes restricting drag shows and gender-related care for minors.
They Need Representation
Parker thinks Hill’s election is in part a backlash against those movements.
She also sees it as a recognition that trans people need representation in areas where they are being attacked by the system.
They Belong Everywhere
The results of this election show that “transgender people belong everywhere decisions about them are being made,” Parker says.
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The post A Transgender Woman Has Been Elected in Tennessee – Here Is the Full Story first appeared on Career Step Up.
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