Christine Hallquist Makes History: The Out Transgender Political Newcomer Wins Vermont Governor’s Primary

“Vermonters have always been the first in civil rights.”

We’re excited to announce that political newcomer Christine Hallquist made her mark on American history last night (Tuesday, August, 14th). 

Photo by Photo by “Christine For Vermont”

Hallquist won the Democratic primary race in Vermont, which makes her the first transgender candidate nominated for governor by a major party in the United States.

“I’m so honored to be part of this historical moment,” Hallquist told reporters during her victory speech late last evening.

Hallquist, who is a first-time candidate, won the nomination out a competitive four candidates. She’s a surefire trailblazer in the progressive movement in which women, LGBTQ candidates, and people newer to the political sphere are running for more positions than ever in midterm elections this year. Transgender women have run in record-breaking numbers this year alone, according to the Victory Fund, an organization that helps LGBTQ candidates get elected.

Though Vermont is a liberal state, Hallquist still faces a tough road of competition ahead of her. Republican Governor Phil Scott is uncharacteristically popular in the state of Vermont, even among the liberal demographic (many Democrats favor him). However, Hallquist understands that the issue of climate change is deeply important to the people of Vermont and has focused much of her campaign around it. She has stated that Scott’s declining numbers prove that he is not supportive of the issues that are vitally important to liberals and Democrats, such as Medicare-for-all, education, and expanding Vermont’s rural infrastructure.

Hallquist grew up in Upstate New York and says that while attending Catholic school, she always felt like a girl. In school, she actively participated in running and skiing and says that during her youth she (secretly) collected women’s clothes that she hid beneath her bed. In the late ’70s, Hallquist moved to Vermont and began her career as a successful engineer. She came out to her wife Pat a few years into their marriage and told their three children eight years ago. Her transition was documented by local news as she was a CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative, and was one of the few CEOs who was willing to be open about their transition.

It might come as a surprise that it was just in January of 2018 that Hallquist made the bold choice to run for governor. She told the Post that she was inspired by four young Muslim women talking about the current discriminations they faced, and she was moved to tears by their stories. She was incredibly disheartened that the safe “cocoon” of Vermont was not so safe for marginalized people anymore. However, she’s not surprised that the Democrats of Vermont have voted for her.

“Vermonters have always been the first in civil rights,” she said. “They certainly looked beyond the fact that I’m transgender and looked at the issues.”

We’re thrilled to see Hallquist, one of GO Magazine’s “100 Women we Love: Class of 2018” thrive! Just this June Hallquist told GO: “In running for governor, I am so grateful that I have met so many good people. There are many people who are down on our democracy. I would tell them to not let the negativism get you down. The majority of the people who I have met on the campaign trail really do want to make things better and are very welcoming and supportive.”