Arienne Childrey is running to be the first transgender member of the Ohiolegislature — and she’s running against a state representative who sponsored a drag ban and supported bills restricting gender-affirming care and trans participation in school sports.
“If you’re going to attack our communities, then you’re gonna have to compete against someone from our community,” Childrey told the Ohio Capital Journal.
Childrey has declared her candidacy in the Democratic primary in Ohio House District 84, located in the northwestern part of the state. No other Democrat has entered the race so far. The incumbent is Republican Angela King.
King and Rep. Josh Williams are the lead sponsors of House Bill 245, which would ban drag performances outside of adult entertainment venues. Penalties for violation would include criminal charges. It’s awaiting action in a House committee. In testifying for the bill in November, King voiced objections to a drag show held during a Pride event in her district last summer. Childrey organized a protest against the bill.
King also supported a bill that would ban gender-affirming care for minors and one that would bar trans girls and women from participating in female sports in public schools. The legislature has passed these bills, but Gov. Mike DeWine vetoed them last week. An override is possible.
Childrey, a Virginia native, has lived in Ohio since 2014. She is the founder of Northwest Ohio Trans Advocacy. This is her first run for elected office.
“It’s well past time that we’ve got somebody who goes to the statehouse who’s actually interested in dealing with those issues — issues that actually impact people that can help our lives — rather than somebody who’s more focused on who they can hurt rather than who they can help,” Childrey told the Capital Journal.
Her priority issues, in addition to LGBTQ+ rights, include support for public education and job creation, expanding broadband access, and strengthening unions. “I’m committed to being accessible to our constituents, so that together we can make a real difference in our district, and state,” her campaign websitesays.
“You should have representation that actually cares about your day-to-day life and people that are actually working to make things better,” she said in the Capital Journal interview. “Together, we can actually make some real change one step at a time.”
Childrey, who is 40, transitioned at age 34. “I know what gender-affirming care is for me,” she told the publication. “I know that it was lifesaving. I know the years that I wasted … before I transitioned. … I’ve never regretted my transition.”
“The only thing that could possibly make me more happy than being the first trans woman elected in the state of Ohio is to not be the only trans person elected in the state of Ohio,” she added.
The primary election is March 19.