On January 3rd, Congress ushered in the most diverse assembly of freshman lawmakers in history. During the swearing-in ceremony, the House gallery was filled to the brim with reporters, civilians, and a record number of newly elected female Congresswomen.
Alongside famed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest female legislator, the first Somali-American, Palestinian-American and two Native American women were also sworn in on Thursday. In addition to making history, the 116th Congress is laying the groundwork for a much-needed, ideological, ethnic and generational change in government.
In light of this inclusivity, newly elected Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va) displayed a colorful message of her own during her first week at the Capitol. Following Thursday's ceremony, Wexton hung a transgender pride flag next to the Virginia state flag outside her office.
In honor of her transgender relative, Wexton explained to the Washingtonian that the gesture is a symbol of support for the transgender community. “The trans community has been under attack,” she said. “I wanted to show my solidarity because we are talking about my friends and family.”
Wexton is not the first legislator to wave the pastel flag within the Capitol's halls. Former Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) similarly hung the transgender pride flag outside his office in support of his transgender grandchild.
Danica Roam, the first openly transgender woman to be elected to Virginia's legislature, thanked Wexton via Twitter for the public display of support. "Thank you, Rep. @JenniferWexton. I’m proud to call you my congresswoman," she wrote.
During her tenure in the Virginia General Assembly, Wexton fought diligently in support of LGBTQ rights. During her campaign, she was endorsed by the Human Rights Campaign, who similarly applauded her decision to display the flag. After unseating Barbara Comstock during the 2018 midterm elections, Wexton became the representative of Virginia's 10th district in the House.