Danielle Skidmore poses under a campaign sign
Danielle Skidmore is a mother, a civil engineer, and a LGBTI activist. A resident of Austin, Texas for over 20 years, she is also on the brink of making political history in the historically conservative state.
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Skidmore is currently running for a spot on Austin’s City Council. If successful in her bid, she will become the first openly trans person elected to office in the state.
Skidmore officially filed the paperwork for her run in March. In the last year, she has worked tirelessly to push back on anti-trans bathroom bills at the state level.
‘It really taught me that if you want to make change, you have to step up and serve,’ she said of her experience protesting the Texas State Capitol.
Partnership with Alicia Roth Weigel
Skidmore teamed up with 28-year-old Alicia Roth Weigel, who previously worked alongside former Texas Senator Wendy Davis on the Deeds Not Words advocacy project.
Weigel, who is intersex, and Skidmore bonded over their shared experiences. Shortly after, Weigel shared her story for the first time in front of the Texas State Legislature during a testimony against a bathroom bill.
‘That’s how she came out, sort of zero to 100 in a day, and hasn’t looked back,’ Skidmore told NewNowNext with pride. ‘She’s an amazing, fierce fighter.’
Later on, the two decided that Skidmore should run for City Council while Weigel spearheaded the campaign.
‘I have a 28-year-old female campaign manager, which is still unheard of in politics, even when women run for office,’ Skidmore said. ‘But running for office is such a vulnerable place. I can’t imagine doing it without having somebody with me who’s not only invested as a professional, but invested as a human being.’
According to Skidmore, residents of Austin are ‘really excited’ about the idea of having a transgender person on the City Council. Additionally, Skidmore says that she hasn’t received much anti-trans backlash as a result of her candidacy — at least not locally.
Conservative YouTube video
There was one instance where Skidmore engaged with conservative YouTuber Steven Crowder on the streets of Austin. Unknown to her, the conversation was recorded and uploaded as part of Crowder’s ‘Change My Mind’ series. The episode Skidmore’s commentary was used in was about if there can be more than two genders.
‘I sat down with him, we started talking, and a minute or two into the conversation, my phone started blowing up with texts, including one from Alicia,’ Skidmore recalled. “Holy shit, Steven Crowder’s in Austin!” Mind you, I’m in front of him with a microphone already.’
Crowder has over two million subscribers on YouTube. His video featuring Skidmore was viewed over four million times.
Though she received about 64,000 comments of ‘really ugly hate,’ Skidmore is still proud of the interview. Despite the hate, she still received over 100 letters from Crowder’s viewers thanking her for changing their minds.
‘It’s taught me that visibility is important,’ Skidmore said. ‘And I’m lucky that I get to be visible and out and proud with what I see as relatively little consequences.’
Skidmore is running on a platform of ‘accessibility, mobility, sustainability, and equity.’
‘As a transportation engineer, I think I can bring a voice that is different than we’ve had,’ she said. ‘But as a trans woman and a special needs parent, my lived experience has really taught me that it’s so important to intentionally listen to all of the voices on an issue. That really has been central in our campaign.’
Earlier this year, another Texas town elected a gay Air Force veteran as mayor. He won with a whopping 62% of the vote.