Alameda Elects First Transgender Judge

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Nov 17, 2010  |  Updated 7:15 AM PDT
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Victoria Kolakowski is making history, just by doing her job.

For over 20 years, she's worked as an attorney. This week, she declared victory in a very close race for Alameda County Superior Court, making her the first transgender trial judge in the country.

It almost wasn't to be. Alameda Deputy District Attorney John Creighton nearly won the race, with the final tally placing Kolakoski just three points ahead of him, a difference of about 10,000 votes.

Kolakowski began her transition in 1989, and faced discrimination. Initially, she was not allowed to take the Bar Exam, and was told that she was not of sound mind. She appealed that decision and won.

Since then, she's worked to break down barriers and blaze a trail in the legal profession. When marriages were legal for a few months in 2008, Kolakowski married her wife, an editor at the Bay Area Reporter.

In a statement, Kolakowski said that she hoped her election would help the public "see people like me as respectable professionals and even colleagues, and not as 'freaks.'" Throughout the campaign, she placed dual emphasis both on diversity and her experience. Clearly, it's a strategy that paid off.

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