Owen Hurcum took office on Monday as the world’s first known non-binary mayor.
Hurcum, 23 years old, is genderqueer and agenda, and was unanimously elected last year by Bangor City Council in Wales after serving as deputy mayor for a year, North Wales Live reported. Hurcum, which uses neutral pronouns, only took office on Monday due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hurcum shared a pic on Monday wearing a traditional chain of mayors, and thanked the city.
“It is a tremendous privilege to have been elected by my fellow city council members to the post of mayor of Bangor,” Hurcum said in a statement to NBC News. “I don’t take this lightly and will work as hard as I can in the role of giving everything back to the city that has given me so much. I may only be 23, but I have a wealth of local administration experience and a fantastic team behind me so I know we are ready for the challenges ahead.
Hurcum added that the performance “is more than just putting on the channel, but I’m happy to have received thousands of positive messages from non-binary people around the world saying what it means to see me in this role. ”
Hurcum told North Wales Live that they moved to Bangor, which has a population of around 18,000, about five years ago to attend Bangor University.
“Within a week, I fell in love with it and tried to immerse myself in the culture of the city,” they said last year.
Hurcum became interested in politics while in college, North Wales Live reported. Before becoming deputy mayor, they served as a city councilor for four years.
Hurcum also ran for the Senedd, the Welsh Parliament, in the spring, but resigned in March, claiming the Welsh Plaid Cymru party they were running for provides a platform for those promoting transphobia.
They specifically named Helen Mary Jones, a member of the Senedd, who described herself as a “gender critical feminist,” according to the BBC. Hurcum said Jones retweeted “transphobic” Twitter accounts that sent them “verbally abusive” messages.
“She made no effort to find out more about our community and why her retweets are so damaging,” Hurcum wrote on Twitter in March.
Days later, Jones apologized and closed his Twitter account, the BBC reported.
“I specifically acknowledge that some of the accounts I follow and retweet have shared content that is unacceptable and transphobic and I very much regret the impact of this on individuals as well as the trans community in general,” he said. she said in a statement. “Nothing more than the trans community. For this, I sincerely apologize to the trans community for the pain and harm I have caused. I am still learning. “
In one reply at the time, Hurcum welcomed the apology, but told NBC News that the Plaid Cymru party was “still a long way from winning mine and the trust of our communities.”
Hurcum joins the growing list of transgender and non-binary elected officials around the world. In 1999, New Zealand elected Georgina Beyer, the world’s first trans MP. Tony Briffa became Australia’s first openly intersex mayor in 2011.
More recently, Mauree Turner, the state representative of Oklahoma, became the first non-binary public representative of a US state in 2020. Three years earlier, Danica Roem became the first openly trans person elected to a house. of American State.
Hurcum wrote on Twitter they “will want to use my term to promote Bangor as much as possible, attract investment and interest, and celebrate the multicultural community that makes our city the great it is.” “
They had previously told North Wales Live that they also wanted to sell Bangor as a destination.
“I really want to work to bring more funds to improve the main street, push for more green spaces and promote the interconnected communities between the university and the city itself,” they said.
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