History was made in Illinois last week when the first openly transgender person was elected into office.
Jill Rose Quinn will be serving as a judge in Cook County.
While she’s been practicing law for about 37 years, she said with this new position she wants to provide hope for transgender people who are not only trying to break into the judicial field, but to just be themselves.
“I want to be the best judge I can be. I know I’m going to be fair, listen, be reasonable and be a beacon for transgender people to know that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and that there’s a place for them in society,” Quinn said.
She first ran for judge in 2018, but was unsuccessful. This time around, she was endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party, which she says helped solidify her win in the primary. She ran unopposed in the general election.
What pushed her to run initially was meeting two judicial icons: Phyllis Frye, the first openly transgender judge in the U.S., and Victoria Kolakowski, the first openly transgender trial judge in the country.
“I knew it was important for transgender people to be in the public eye,” Quinn said. “I knew it was important for us to be visible and for people to know that we need to be included in the political process.”
She hopes she can make the judicial path more realistic for other trans people. Diversity is a paramount in the judiciary field, she said.
“Any system depends upon its legitimacy,” Quinn said. “And the more inclusive it is, the more legitimate it is. It’s important for a system to include the viewpoint of not just people who are transgender, but people who are marginalized in any way.”
Quinn will be sworn in on Dec. 7.