Christine Hallquist became the first transgender candidate to be nominated for a governorship by a major party when she won Vermont’s Democratic primary Aug. 14. The nomination marks an historic moment in transgender activism, said an expert on transgender aging at Washington University in St. Louis.

“Christine Hallquist’s nomination provides an opportunity to appreciate and learn from the ways that collective social action on the part of trans activists brings forth both opportunities for individuals, but also impacts the social and cultural forces that we all navigate,” said Vanessa Fabbre, assistant professor at the Brown School, who studies LGBTQ aging.

“Through interviews with 86 trans and gender nonconforming older adults for my recent project, ‘To Survive on This Shore: Photographs and Interviews with Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Older Adults,’ I have found that community organizing and civic engagement play critical roles in how trans people promote their own health and well-being over time,” Fabbre said.

“Many trans older adults see community and civic engagement as a life saver, often in the face of rejection from families or discrimination in employment,” said Fabbre, whose most recent research will be published in a book published by the United Kingdom’s Policy Press called “Intersections of Ageing, Gender and Sexualities: Multidisciplinary International Perspectives.” She is contributing to a chapter titled “Transgender Ageing: Resistance and Community Wellbeing.”

“The momentum set forth through decades of transgender activism thus paves the way for change at all levels: individual, community and society,” Fabbre said. “We are witnessing this multi-level change in real time through Ms. Hallquist’s nomination.”