Democratic lawmaker Danica Roem—Virginia and the United State's first openly transgender lawmaker elected to state office—received a transphobic private message on Twitter.
"No such thing as trans gender. Only delusional people with mental disorders."
Rather than let this get to her, Roem turned the message around on the man, named "Joe," in the best way possible.
Roem wrote back to Joe:
"Thank you so much for your message—not for the message itself but for your decision to send it to me because I'm going to screenshot our conversation thread here, post it to my Twitter page and use it to raise money for my re-election campaign."
"I would tell you to feel free to contribute too but, really, in so many ways, you already have."
Roem's experience is likely not uncommon.
Short, hateful messages with no point other than to hurt the person receiving them are pretty typical for marginalized people on social media, especially for trans people.
But Roem herself is uncommon.
She became the first out transgender legislator to win a seat in 2017 after a—in her words—"smart, issues-driven campaign focused on improving the lives of her neighbors."
Roem was constantly misgendered and attacked for her identity during her first campaign.
Her Republican opponent sent out fliers referring to her with the improper pronouns and constituents in her district began receiving anti-trans robocalls.
She ultimately won her election by 8 percentage points.
In the time of Republican transphobic legislation being pushed by the GOP in every corner of the United States, more and more visibly open trans people are stepping up to make change.
Roem has never let the Joes of the world stop her before and she isn't going to start now.
You can donate to her campaign here.