GO Proudly Presents: 100 Women We Love, Class Of 2020

Rosemary Ketchum

Photo by Chase McFarland.

“I believe that the work of an elected official is to reflect the values of your community in the actions of your leadership,” Rosemary Ketchum tells GO. “I decided to run for office because I knew the changes we needed to see could only be achieved through serious community organizing and unapologetic compassion.” And thanks to that decision, Ketchum is now the first openly transgender elected official in West Virginia after winning her race for a City Council seat in her city of Wheeling. With a background in mental health work and advocacy, Ketchum typically travels across the state to speak to audiences about civil rights and social justice with a focus on LGBTQ+ issues. She also formerly served on the Wheeling Human Rights Commission and the board of the ACLU of West Virginia, constantly striving for changes that will make life better for marginalized communities in her district and beyond. Currently, she is a member of the board of directors of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy and the YWCA of Wheeling. Ketchum has been awarded for her work, winning West Virginia Living Magazines’ “Wonder Woman Award” in 2019 and their Outstanding Young West Virginian Award earlier this year. Regardless of whether she’s speaking on mental health rights at a lecture or fighting for her constituents in the boardroom, Ketchum is proud to be an out trans woman — not only for herself but for her constituents. “I think being an out trans person has only elevated the necessary conversations my community needed to have,” she says. “These conversations are sometimes awkward, more often easy, but always important.” —IL

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