Christine Hallquist, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Vermont
Christine Hallquist, Democratic Candidate for Governor of Vermont, is one hell of a force to be reckoned with. Christine has been top charting headlines for being the first business leader in the US to transition into her true self, male to female, while in office and has even gone up against our celebrity president for his harsh views. While it’s no secret Christine has and will continue to turn heads in the world of politics, thecnnekt wanted to step away from all of that and get to know Christine as a person. And we did just that.
We started at the beginning. "I grew up in a classic suburb town. It was a very homogenous town. We were a big family with seven children. We didn't have a lot of money growing up, but we didn't KNOW we didn't have a lot of money.'' Christine talked about being happy as a child, yet unaware of the big world around her. The family didn't talk about being gay - such things as LGBT issues were unheard of. If they existed in the town, it obviously was kept very hush hush.
"I would get beat up on the way to school, by the nuns at school and beat up on the way home from school. But then I realized, they were only beating me up because they didn't understand."
Christine knew she was different but couldn't quite explain it. It was when she seven was years old, dressed up in a Little Bo Peep costume, that Christine realized she was meant to be female. When she told her mother, she was immediately scolded to never repeat those words. This wasn't because her mother didn't love her, it was because she knew what would happen to her- in that time, in that town.
But the truth eventually presented itself and Christine's mother's fears were validated. The Catholic school she was attending responded in the suggestion of an exorcism. Immediately following, Christine's parents removed her from Catholic school and placed her in public education. It is here where Christine credits when she "learned how to be a man." And with those learnings came a wife and three beautiful children.
Christine's family, specifically her wife, knew about her identity and while the support was remarkable, it was still hidden. "My wife and I said we would take the secret to the grave, but I couldn't live with that.”
On December 2nd, 2015, Christine transitioned. Her voice changed when stating this, instantly making us smile with happiness. But it was the next part that reminded us of a sad reality.
"It was November 9th, 2016 that changed everything, and I went into political depression.'' This was the very night that Donald Trump delivered his acceptance speech and the moral compass of America’s hearts ached. "In 2017, I was still in a state of denial."
But that changed when Christine walked by a group of girls who call themselves Muslim Girls Making Change reading slam poetry. Their art in the form of words was relatable to her and something just clicked. Her struggles were so similar and the repression of many was spotlighted in her brain. In that very moment, Christine decided to run for office.
Thankfully, Vermont has been extremely accepting of Christine’s candidacy thus far. "Only one person has brought up being transgender in the Vermont trail and that was just out of curiosity. They focus on the issues that are important." She knew that no matter what anyone thought or felt, continuing to stick to her ethos would lead her down the right path for her people. "'I am the Democratic Candidate for Governor because I followed my heart.”
It was time to wrap things up, but we couldn’t end without asking two very common, but important questions of ours. First, what was her best advice for those struggling with coming out as their true selves? It was no surprise she responded in numbers as she has proven to be excellent with them, especially dates, and percentages.
"I was once told that 93% of people get up everyday and want to do good. 7% of the people in the world are narcissists. Lets focus on the 93% that’s good because when your standing on the side of what is right and what is just, you will prevail.”
And lastly, what did she foresee for the future? "I truly believe that in one year from now, we will be flying our American flag as a healthy democracy."
Preach Christine, preach.
Interviewed by Emily