France has its first out transgender person as an elected mayor.
55- year-old Marie Cau was elected last weekend mayor of the town of the northern French town, Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes. The 541-person municipality is close to the border with Belgium.
“What’s really surprising is that this is surprising,” Cau told the AFP this past Saturday.
“They didn’t vote for me because I’m transgender – or the opposite – they voted for a program and for values,” she said, adding that the town is “sleepy” and the “social link has disappeared,” so “residents wanted a change.”
She said that since starting her transition 15 years ago in the town, she has suffered “no discrimination nor bullying.”
“People are kind, despite a little awkwardness.” She explained that she is still working on getting her paperwork corrected, but that people have been fine calling her by her second middle name (“Marie” is a common middle name for both genders in France).
“This situation should be considered normal, because the people voted for a team and a project,” Cau said, adding that she was waiting for “the day that this will become a non-event.”
But of course the milestone was noted. France’s Gender Equality Minister Marlène Schiappa tweeted, “The exercise of public and political responsibility are important parts of trans visibility and the fight against transphobia. Congratulations to Marie Cau!”