The Profane, Funny Politician. A Trans Woman, Stand-up Comedian Helping Run Wisconsin’s Capitol City: Dina Nina Martinez-Rutherford

Dina Nina Matinez-Rutherford at her city councilmember desk
Comedian, activist, and inspiration! Dina Nina Martinez Rutherford is a trans woman who moved from LA to Madison, Wisconsin. Discover how this standup comedian and city council member overcame challenges, embraced her identity, and found success in the most unexpected ways.

From the comedy stages of Los Angeles to the political epicenter of Madison, Wisconsin, Dina Nina Martinez Rutherford not only is a trans woman stand-up comedian who’s been breaking barriers in the world of comedy, but Dina Nina also holds the distinction of being Madison’s first elected trans official. Her journey is far from ordinary, marked with grit and resilience.

 With a powerful message for trans kids and a call to action for everyone to participate in effecting change, Dina Nina leaves us inspired. Explore the multifaceted life of Dina Nina, a woman who continues to be a beacon of hope, advocacy, and laughter.


Dina Nina’s website:

Follow her on Instagram: @dinaninaxo

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On TikTok: @dinaninaxo

On Twitter: @dinaninaxo

About Dina Nina Martinez-Rutherford

Dina Nina, who was called “…very funny.” by the Late Late Show’s James Corden, is a transgender stand up
comedian, speaker, actor and first openly Transgender memeber of the Madison Common Council. Her
signature blend of disarming sass and charm has been featured in comedy festivals and multiple worldclass
comedy venues including LA Pride, Milwaukee Pride, The Comedy Store, Improv, Laugh Factory and
Zanies Comedy Club. She is the founder of Lady Laughs Comedy & Artemis Bow Productions and was
named one of the “58 Trans Women Actors You Should Know & Also Love” by AutoStraddle.

Episode Details

In this episode, we hear the inspiring story of a librarian, Philip Bahr, who faced numerous obstacles, including HIV/AIDS, and how he overcame them to find purpose and meaning in life.

As a child, Philip had a talent for finding information and researching, leading to a career in librarianship. However, his journey was not always smooth. After struggling with HIV and not working for some time, he found purpose in a video store job that allowed him to rebuild their sense of self-worth.

In the face of the growing AIDS crisis, he was involved in activism with Act Up and Body Positive, and participating in support groups for both HIV-positive and negative individuals. Philip also turned to the New Age movement to find his own spiritual journey after leaving the Catholic Church.

He shares his experience testing positive for AIDS and the importance of being aggressive about getting the right treatment for his condition. The lack of fear surrounding the virus among young people at the time is discussed, as well as his determination to move forward after the loss of his long-term partner.

Throughout the episode, Philip emphasizes the importance of personal healing and giving back to others. He talks about the need to connect with others and the significance of personal, in-person relationships and experiences in helping humans propel forward.

Despite the obstacles he faced, Philip considers himself successful and encourages listeners to react positively to any crisis in life. Each individual has one life and must decide how they will face each day, positively or negatively.

This episode provides a moving and uplifting account of perseverance and the power of personal growth.

About this Episode

Dina Nina Martinez-Rutherford, a trans woman comedian and politician living in Madison, Wisconsin. Dina delves in to her impactful journey in the political realm and her unwavering commitment to improving her city.

Dina graciously opened up about her personal journey and her decision to run for office despite facing challenging circumstances. Having experienced economic struggles, Dina recognized the importance of advocating for her community in a new way. She found the perfect avenue for this through politics, running for office and successfully getting elected. Dina’s dedication to her community and her ability to develop strong relationships, including with the mayor, facilitated the raising of the trans flag during pride month—a powerful symbol of acceptance and support for the transgender community.

Dina and Brad stressed the significance of local politics. While national politics capture much attention, it is local politics that directly shape our day-to-day living experiences. They highlighted how cities like Madison and South Bend are making tangible differences in the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals through progressive policies and representation. The passion and engagement of younger generations, as well as the increasing voter turnouts in response to right-wing candidates, further indicate a growing sense of activism and optimism for the future.

Throughout the conversation, Dina’s authentic self and unapologetic honesty shone through. From her comedy background to her past involvement in sex work, Dina emphasized the importance of embracing one’s true identity and recognizing the strength and skills that come from being authentically oneself. She firmly believes that there should be no shame in doing what one needs to do to survive and support themselves, and that individual experiences, including diverse backgrounds, can bring new perspectives to the political arena.

Despite the challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, Dina remains hopeful. She sees a promising future in the younger generations, including Gen Z and Gen Xers, who are becoming more vocal about their beliefs and actively engaging in politics. Dina’s optimism stems from witnessing people who truly care and who are actively working towards change, embodying a spirit that refuses to accept further erosion of rights. By standing up against resistance and advocating for progress, Dina and others like her are paving the way for a more inclusive and accepting world.

Dina Nina Martinez-Rutherford showcases the importance of progress, representation, and individual action in shaping a more inclusive society. She illuminates the power of local politics, the influence of authentic voices, and the hope that lies within the younger generations. Dina Nina shows by continuing to celebrate diversity and inspire change, we can create a future where everyone is valued, loved, and supported.

Breaking Barriers: The Advancement of Transgender People in Politics

In recent years, the political landscape has seen groundbreaking progress with the rise of transgender individuals in the realm of politics. These trailblazers have not only shattered glass ceilings but also paved the way for a more inclusive and representative democracy. In this blog post, we will explore the incredible advancements made by transgender people in politics, highlighting their achievements, impact, and the challenges they have overcome.

  1. Embracing Visibility and Representation:

Transgender politicians have emerged as influential voices, determined to bring their unique perspectives and lived experiences to the forefront of political discourse. Their candidness and authenticity resonate with many, inspiring individuals from all walks of life to embrace their true selves.

One notable example is Danica Roem, who became the first openly transgender state legislator in the United States. Rep. Roem’s election to Virginia’s House of Delegates in 2017 shattered barriers and demonstrated that transgender individuals could successfully navigate and excel in political arenas.

  1. Advocating for Transgender Rights:

Transgender politicians have played a pivotal role in advocating for policies that secure the rights and protections of transgender individuals. They are amplifying the voices of marginalized communities, pushing for inclusive policies that address issues such as healthcare access, employment discrimination, and transgender youth’s rights.

Sarah McBride, a prominent transgender activist and politician, made history as the first openly transgender person to serve in a state Senate position. Sarah’s unwavering dedication to fighting for transgender rights has advanced the conversation and influenced legislative decisions on a national level.

  1. Creating More Inclusive Legislation:

Transgender politicians bring a unique perspective when crafting legislation. Their firsthand experiences and understanding of the challenges faced by the transgender community inform their policy decisions, ensuring that the laws enacted are more comprehensive and inclusive.

A prime example is Andrea Jenkins, who became the first openly transgender African American woman to be elected to public office. As a member of the Minneapolis City Council, Jenkins has worked tirelessly to address systemic inequalities and promote policies that uplift transgender and marginalized communities.


The advancements made by transgender individuals in politics are a testament to the resilience and determination of the LGBTQ+ community. Through their presence and advocacy, transgender politicians are transforming the political landscape, amplifying LGBTQ+ voices, and pushing for substantive change. As we continue to recognize the importance of diverse representation, it is vital to support and uplift transgender individuals who are navigating the complex world of politics to create a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

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Looking for positivity within our community, then listen to Queer We Are. The podcast where you’ll hear some of the most interesting and successful LGBTQ+ people share uplifting stories, including their definition of success, how they achieved it, and what they learned along the way. Guests include celebrities, activists, politicians, athletes, and many more.
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