Taylor Small

Taylor Small by Owen Leavey Photography

Taylor Small sought elected office after a call from Diana Gonzalez, the first openly queer woman of color in the Vermont state legislature. Gonzalez, an incumbent, was stepping down; someone needed to run for her seat. Enter Small, a local drag artist and the Pride Center of Vermont’s Health and Wellness Program Director. “It was just the push I needed to step up and run,” Small tells GO. “I didn’t know that I could successfully run a political campaign as a young, working class, transgender woman, but with community support and strong advocacy, I did.” After winning the seat in last November’s election, Small is now the first transgender legislator in the state. Her focus is to advocate for LGBTQ+ and marginalized Vermonters and improve access to health and wellness care. She also co-sponsored HB 128, a bill that bans the use of the “trans panic” defense in criminal cases, which passed into law this past May with unanimous support from both the Vermont House and Senate. Small received a letter of recognition from the state’s Republican governor, along with the pen that was used to sign the bill into law. The most rewarding aspect of her work, she says, is “hearing from young queer and transgender youth across the country saying, ‘I now see a future for myself in politics.’ Our youth are not only our future, but our present, and I think it is imperative that we give them a strong platform to be able to share their voice with the world.” —RK

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