Vermont Could Elect America's First Transgender Governor

August 7, 2018 AT 9:17 AM

By Ben Schreckinger

Christine Hallquist leaned back in her swivel chair inside a private room at the Northshire bookstore and dialed up potential donors, trash-talking the plummeting approval numbers of Vermont’s incumbent Republican governor and touting her chances against her Democratic rivals. "It's clear it's for us to lose, which I won't, 'cause I'm disciplined," she assured one prospective contributor of the upcoming primary.

Beating her fellow Democrats and then defeating a sitting Vermont governor for the first time since 1962 are only the beginning. From there, Hallquist, a first-time candidate, plans to reverse the decline of rural Vermont and maybe even solve climate change.

All of this, Hallquist thinks, will be relatively easy, because she has already done the hardest thing she will ever do. In 2015, she began wearing a wig and a blouse to work, publicly coming out as a woman named Christine to her employees at the Vermont Electric Coop, the utility she had led for years as a man named Dave. It was the culmination of an eight-year gender transition that, after a lifetime of experiencing gender dysphoria, had filled her with dread at the ostracism she knew would follow.

“I was sure when I transitioned, I'd end up sleeping in a gutter somewhere,” she said.

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