Conservatives Crushed: Nashville Elects Tennessee’s First Openly Transgender Politician

A transgender woman was elected to the Nashville Metro Council, becoming the first openly transgender person to win a race for political office in Tennessee.

Democrat Olivia Hill was elected to one of the four open seats on the metro council of Nashville, winning 12.9 percent of the vote.

Tennessee Reinstates Ban on Gender-Affirming Care for Youth

Hill’s victory comes just months after a US Appeals Court reinstated Tennessee’s ban on gender-affirming care for trans youth. Transgender minors in the state are now unable to access care. The state also has laws that ban drag shows.

Hill was elected alongside three other women, who won four out of five available positions making a historic female-majority in the city’s Metro Council. Women now make up the majority of Nashville’s metro council.

Nashville is a politically liberal city in a majority conservative state.

Hill is the first transgender woman to be elected in Tennessee, according to the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, an advocacy group aiming to get LGBTQ+ people into public office.

Nashville Native and a Veteran

Hill is a Nashville native and a military veteran, according to her campaign website. She served in the engineering division for ten years, seeing combat in Desert Storm, and she worked at the Vanderbilt University power plant.

Hill doesn’t have a political background and said she put her full faith and trust in her campaign manager, Spencer Bowers.

“I told him in the beginning, ‘If you need somebody to change your water heater, I’m your girl. If you need somebody to repair your engine, I’m your girl. When it comes to campaigns and running them, that’s you,’” she said.

Wants to Fix the Broken Parts of Nashville

“I just want to take my skills and put it back to continue working,” she said. “Running for At Large is the best place for me to use my skill and my talent to fix the broken parts of Nashville.

I really want to help Nashville’s underground grow at the same rate that we are growing above ground: utilities, power, water, storm drains, sewers, internet, phone service, electrical — I want it to all grow at the same rate we’re growing everything else.”

Sued Employer for Workplace Discrimination

Hill sued the university in September 2021 after experiencing intense workplace discrimination; the two parties reached an out-of-court settlement.

Hill is an advocate for women’s and LGBTQ+ rights, and she has served on the board of directors for the Tennessee Pride Chamber.

“My expertise is fixing things, and while my focus is repairing Nashville’s outdated infrastructure, 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 media release on Thursday following her win, according to the Associated Press.

LGBTQ Group Applauds Hill’s Victory

Annise Parker, the president and CEO of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, applauded Hill’s victory. Parker noted that Hill’s historic election comes as Tennessee’s state legislature passes laws discriminating against transgender communities.

“Nashville voters clearly reject the hateful rhetoric that has grown louder in Tennessee politics lately,” Parker said in a statement.

“Olivia’s victory proves that transgender people belong everywhere decisions about them are being made, including local office.”

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