Nashville voters elect openly transgender woman for the first time in Tennessee’s history

Voters in Nashville elected Navy veteran Olivia Hill to the city council, making the biological male the first transgender to hold public office in Tennessee history.

(Video Credit: WKRN News 2)

The transgender, who is 57, is a “proud” Democrat.

“Hill secured one of the Council’s five at-large seats in Thursday’s runoff election with 12.9% of the vote. She joins a historic number of women elected to the Council. All five at-large members will be women, as well as 17 district council members. That adds up to 22 women — a majority of the 40-member council,” The Tennessean reported.

The transgender served ten years in the Navy, doing two tours in the Persian Gulf including Desert Storm. He also has two children and four grandchildren. Hill is a transgender activist and an advocate for women’s rights.

The election of Hill is somewhat surprising after Tennessee implemented some of the strictest laws concerning gender in the nation.

In March, Governor Bill Lee (R) signed into law legislation that bans gender-affirming healthcare for minors. He also tried to quash drag performances in front of children but was prevented from doing so because a judge deemed it a violation of First Amendment rights.

There are also laws on the books forcing individuals to use restrooms determined by biology at birth and others preventing transgenders from playing sports that do not adhere to their original gender identity.

In Thursday’s general runoff election, Hill won 37,000 votes according to the Daily Mail. He successfully campaigned on infrastructure, improving non-vehicle transit options, and improving schools.

Other issues in Hill’s campaign platform included affordable housing and ways to handle homelessness which he has first-hand experience with.

“I want to say that I am elated. For every trans kid in the state of Tennessee that has felt discomfort or that they didn’t belong… We are valid. We are who we say we are. And we are going to move forward,” Hill told The Tennessean in an interview.

“It feels like every horrible thing that people have said about trans folks has just washed away,” Hill also told Axios.

Hill began medically transitioning to become a woman in 2017. He claimed he knew at age five that he wanted to be like his “mother and sisters.”

His mother understandably took Hill to a psychiatrist for help. She wanted her son to be taught how to “be a boy.” But gender dysphoria took hold.

The transgender joined the Navy and reportedly adopted a more masculine persona to fit in. But when he turned 52, he “came out” as a woman while working at Vanderbilt University. Hill would go on to sue the university in 2021 over workplace discrimination and win.

He retired from the university after 25 years. The new city council member now sits on the Board of Directors for the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Hill was Grand Marshall at this year’s Pride march in Nashville and is now writing a book, according to the Daily Mail.

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