During a Maryland District 18 forum at Montgomery County's Leland Community Center in Chevy Chase on Sunday, Dec. 9, Dr. Dana Beyer, a transgender Democrat and one six people bidding to succeed Democratic State Del. Jane Lawton, who died Nov. 29 following a massive heart attack, took herself out of the running.
''I'm a player inside the system and I know how these things work,'' Beyer told Metro Weekly on Dec. 10. ''This is a selection, not an election, and there are different rules.... That's just the way it is. There are all sorts of external pressures.''
Had she succeeded Lawton, Beyer would have been Maryland's first transgender legislator. Only a small handful of transgender candidates have ever been elected to public office. Beyer, who ran unsuccessfully for seat in the Maryland General Assembly in 2006, says she is not discouraged.
''Being the first at anything is a hard thing to do. People have a hard time breaking out of their mold and being willing to consider somebody who is different. I've never run as a transgender candidate, but that's a factor. People might not see the physician and the politician. They might see the trans woman, and that might have an impact on this.
''The bottom line for me is when I do win,'' she continues, ''it will be that much sweeter.''