Olivia Hill Becomes First Openly Transgender Person Elected to Nashville’s Metro Council

Olivia Hill has made history by becoming the first openly transgender person ever elected to Nashville’s Metro Council. According to LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, Hill is the first transgender woman elected in Tennessee history. Hill secured one of the Council’s five at-large seats in Thursday’s runoff election with 12.9% of the vote.

Hill’s election is part of a larger milestone for the Council, as all five at-large members, as well as 17 district council members, will be women. This means that there will be a majority of 22 women out of the 40-member council.

Before her election, Hill’s campaign alone made history. She was the first openly trans woman to have her name on a Tennessee ballot. Hill, a Nashville native, served in the U.S. Navy from 1986-1995, including combat service during Desert Storm. After leaving the military, she worked at Vanderbilt University Power Plant for 26 years before retiring in December 2021.

Hill underwent her gender transition while working at Vanderbilt and faced workplace discrimination during that time. She filed a lawsuit against the university in September 2021, which was settled three months later.

As an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, Hill has received recognition for her work. She was awarded the Chancellor’s Heart and Soul award from Vanderbilt University in 2019 and named one of three LGBTQ Advocates of the Year in 2020.

Hill’s top priorities for her council term include improving infrastructure, utilities, public transportation, and finding solutions to help homeless residents. She believes that city leaders have a responsibility to listen more to the needs of the community and not just focus on tourism.

Olivia Hill’s election is a significant step forward for transgender representation in Nashville and in Tennessee as a whole.