In one of the most visceral signs that change has come to Capitol Hill, a new member of the House is making national headlines by rebuking President Trump’s anti-transgender agenda and hanging the trans pride flag outside her office.
Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D) told the Washingtonian that she hung the flag because the transgender community, which includes her niece, has been under attack.
“I wanted to show my solidarity because we are talking about my friends and family,” Wexton said.
The flag arrives at a time when the Trump administration is swiftly moving to dismantle transgender protections in the U.S. In October, The New York Times reported that the administration was moving to legally define transgender people out of existence. The report spurred a nationwide campaign and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) launched a #WontBeErased hashtag in response.
Human Rights Campaign regional field organizer Narissa Rahaman shared a photo of the flag on Facebook Thursday.
“The congresswoman said to me, ‘Did you see the flag?! I think we’re the only office on the Hill with one,’” Rahaman wrote.
In 2016, Rep. Mike Honda propped the transgender pride flag outside his office in Washington D.C. for Transgender Day of Visibility.
“We face new challenges across our country, as right-wing groups try to scapegoat transgender people to pass mean spirited anti-LGBT legislation,” Honda wrote on his Facebook at the time.
According to MSNBC, Honda displayed the flag in honor of his transgender granddaughter.
Monica Helms, the U.S. Navy veteran who created the trans pride flag, said she was honored by Wexton’s choice to display the flag, and Helms said it illustrates a change in Washington as Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.
“Just the fact that you put a trans flag outside of your office shows a bit of resistance to the current administration’s policies,” said Helms.
Wexton’s flag is already drawing visitors. On Friday, NCTE Media Relations Manager Gillian Branstetter tweeted a photo of herself in front of the flag.
— Gillian Branstetter (@GBBranstetter) January 4, 2019
Helms said she wants a photo in front of the flag, too. But she prefers it to be in a selfie with Wexton.
“It amazes me that people will do stuff like this,” Helms said of Wexton displaying the flag. “The more that we have Congresspeople who have family members who are trans, the more we’ll see this.”