In New York,
“I’m not running because I’m transgender,” said Mr. Wymore, 50, who was born female but now, after testosterone therapy and top surgery, identifies as transgender. But, he said, that “doesn’t mean that being transgender doesn’t bring a certain perspective.”
Although gay men and lesbians have broken many electoral barriers — serving as mayors, state legislators and members of Congress — the same is not true of the transgender community. Only a few, including a Democratic district leader in Westchester County and a former member of the Hawaii Board of Education, have been elected to office around the country.
“I think there is a feeling that there is too much difference there,” Mr. Wymore said. But he said he believed: “This is the seat. This is the community that’s ready to go forward.”
The race, for the Sixth District seat occupied by Gale A. Brewer, who is term-limited, is competitive and has drawn a number of candidates, including Marc Landis, a district leader; Helen Rosenthal, a former chairwoman of Community Board 7; and Ken Biberaj, a vice president of the Russian Tea Room.
Melissa Sklarz, a transgender woman, said that the race was full of worthy candidates, and that as president of the Stonewall Democratic Club of New York City, she could not make an endorsement. But she described Mr. Wymore’s candidacy as “an opportunity for transgender people everywhere.”
Will Wymore “make history” if elected? Well, no. He could become the first post-op openly transsexual elected councillor in New York, but that’s all. Others have made it elsewhere, and in New York, to similar and even higher political offices.Earlier in history, Murray Hall was a nineteenth century New York City bail bondsman and Tammany Hall politician made famous upon his death in 1901, when it was revealed that he had been a female-bodied person living as a man. Before that, Edward Hyde, styled Viscount Cornbury was cross-dressing governor of New York colony from 1701 – 1708.
Cornbury is reported to have opened the 1702 New York Assembly clad in a hooped gown and an elaborate headdress and carrying a fan, imitative of the style of Queen Anne. When his choice of clothing was questioned, he replied, “You are all very stupid people not to see the propriety of it all. In this place and occasion, I represent a woman (the Queen), and in all respects I ought to represent her as faithfully as I can.”
Elsewhere in the US:
- Joanne Conte served as a councilwoman in Arvada, Colorado from 1991 to 1995.
- Kim Coco Iwamoto was elected as a member of the Hawaii Board of Education in 2006, the first transgender official to win statewide office.
- Victoria_Kolakowski is an American lawyer and judge of the Alameda County Superior Court, California
- Jessica_Orsini was elected in 2006 as alderwoman for Centralia, Missouri.
- Stu_Rasmussen was reported to be the nation’s first openly transgender mayor when he was elected as the mayor of Silverton, Oregon in November 2008.
- In the UK, Jenny_Bailey served as mayor of Cambridge for the year 2007/8. Her partner Annn Liddle, also a transwoman and former councillor, served as Mayoress.
- In Italy, Vladimir_Luxuria was the first openly transgender member of Parliament in Europe from 2006 to 2oo8.
- Poland elected Anna_Grodzka as the first trans person in its parliament, the Sejm, in elections last year (along with the Sejm’s first openly gay man).
- In Spain, Manuela_Trasobares is the first Spanish trans town councilor, in Geldo
- In India, Shabnam_Mausi was an elected member of the Madhya Pradesh State Legislative Assembly from 1998 to 2003.
- In Japan, Aya_Kamikawa is a Tokyo municipal official, the first transsexual person to seek or win elected office in Japan.
In New Zealand, Georgina_Beyer has already completed two terms of service as the world’s first trans member of parliament, and moved on. Before her election to parliament, she was the world’s first trans mayor (of Carterton)
- Madame Chairperson Now Mister Candidate: Transgender Wymore Runs For UWS Council Seat (timesunion.com)
- ‘I AM’ Video Campaign Raises Transgender Awareness And Visibility (thinkprogress.org)
- New Report Outlines Blueprint For Transgender Equality (thinkprogress.org)
- GLAAD & MTPC Launch ‘I AM: Trans People Speak’ (bilerico.com)