Nashville voters are electing Olivia Hill, an openly transgender woman, to the city council for the first time in Tennessee history.
- Democrat Olivia Hill, 57, was elected to the Nashville Metropolitan Council
- Voted despite Tennessee implementing some of the strictest LGBTQ+ laws
- Navy veteran came out as trans at age 52
A transgender woman has been elected to the Nashville City Council for the first time in state history.
Olivia Hill, 57, a Navy veteran, is the first openly transgender person to hold public office in Tennessee.
The “proud” Democrat and three other women won four of the five available positions, producing a historic female majority on the city’s Metropolitan Council.
She served ten years in the United States Navy with two tours in the Persian Gulf, including Desert Storm.
The parent of two and grandparent of four is a transgender activist and women’s rights educator.
Olivia Hill made history as the first openly trans person to hold public office in Tennessee despite the state passing several laws aimed at the LGBTQI+ community.
Hill is a Democrat and won alongside three other women to secure a historic majority on the Nashville Metro Council.
His election comes despite Tennessee implementing some of the strictest laws on LGBTQ+ issues.
In March, the state’s Republican governor, Bill Lee, passed a law banning gender-affirming health care for minors.
He also attempted to restrict drag shows, but the law was deemed to violate free speech rights enshrined in the First Amendment and was overturned.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, the state has passed 19 anti-LGBTQ+ laws since 2015, including bathroom bans and laws banning trans students from playing sports in categories that match their gender identity.
Hill won 37,000 votes in Thursday’s general election runoff after campaigning on infrastructure, improving vehicle-free transit options and improving schools.
‘I I mean I’m delighted. For every trans child in the state of Tennessee who felt uncomfortable or didn’t belong… We are valid. We are who we say we are. And we will move forward, she said The Tennessean.
Hill came out as transgender at the age of 52 and is an activist and community advocate.
She also campaigned for more affordable housing and measures to tackle homelessness, having been unhoused herself in her early years.
Hill began her medical transition to female in 2017, but said she knew from the age of five that she was like her “mother and sisters.”
Her mother took her to a psychiatrist to teach her how to “be a boy” and she later joined the Navy where she adopted a more masculine personality to fit in.
But at the age of 52, she “came out” as a woman while working for Vanderbilt University.
She successfully sued the university in 2021 for workplace discrimination.
Hill retired from the institution after 25 years and now serves on the board of directors for the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
She was selected as a Grand Marshall in this year’s Nashville Pride March and is currently writing her first book.