Last week, the people of Silverton, Oregon (pop. 9,588) elected Stu Rasmussen as mayor -- the first openly transgender person to serve as mayor in U.S. history.
Here's a rather fascinating profile of Rasmussen . Fascinating mostly because he's just so open about himself. And also fascinating because the people of Silverton seem so unfazed by the whole thing:
Close your eyes and listen as the new mayor strides down his hometown's sidewalks, greeting a pair of cowboys whose boots clap against the leaf-covered macadam.
"Good job, Stu," intones the taller one.
"Congratulations, Mr. Mayor," calls the other.
Stu Rasmussen hollers back just as gruffly, wrapping up an exchange that would seem at place in any small farming community. [...]
What he looks like is a man with gray roots and 36D breasts. A man with powerful arms and delicately turned legs. A man wearing a black leather skirt who thinks of 3-inch heels as "all day shoes." A man who gently teases his longtime live-in girlfriend, Victoria Sage, and then stands perfectly still as she tames a cowlick at the back of his head.
There is no makeup on his face, despite an afternoon filled with national television interviews, and he lightheartedly swings a pocketbook from a bare shoulder. He doesn't mince pronouns.
"I am a dude," he says simply. "I am a heterosexual male who appears to be a female. What I've done is blackmail-proof myself."
Zach Patton -- Executive Editor. Zach has written about a range of topics, including social policy issues and urban planning and design. Originally from Tennessee, he joined GOVERNING as a staff writer in 2004. He received the 2011 Jesse H. Neal Award for Outstanding Journalism
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Written and compiled by staff writers and editors, GOVERNING View is an on-the-ground, and sometimes behind-the-scenes, look at the topics we're covering in print and online. From notes on what's up in statehouses, county courthouses and city halls, to encounters with people, places and things, GOVERNING View is a window into the side of state and local government you don't always see.