Appleton, WI elects transgender man to City Council

 photo gypsy_zpsc5783c7a.jpgAppleton, WI’s Gypsy Vered Meltzer identifies as both transgender and a man.  On Tuesday the residents of Appleton elected him to the city council.  Gypsy expects that there will be people uneasy with his election, but is determined to keep that from distracting him from the job at hand.  Meltzer defeated Barney Lemanski for the seat by a vote of 295-199.

I can see some push back, but I hope they’ll get over it.  I hope things don’t go that route.  I don’t want to lose focus on the issues and increasing communications between the city and its residents.


Fair Wisconsin identifies Meltzer as the first openly transgender person to hold office in Wisconsin.

This election is an historic moment for Wisconsin in having the first openly transgender official.  I’d hope we’d see an increase in the number of elected officials from the transgender community across the state.

–Katie Belanger, Fair Wisconsin president

Every time a trans person succeeds in anything related to the public, it is a step forward.  It’s an acknowledgment that we’re just like everyone else and it shouldn’t be the issue by which we’re judged.

–my friend Loree Cook-Daniels, FORGE

I’m focused on the issues rather than myself and look forward to the day when this isn’t as interesting of a topic.


Gypsy wears dreadlocks and 50-plus tattoos, which he says he celebrates along with his gender.

No transgender person has been elected to federal office in the United States, as has happened in New Zealand (Georgina Beyer), Italy (Vladimir Luxuria) and Poland (Anna Grodzka).  British transgender woman Nikki Sinclaire was elected as a European Member of Parliament in 2009.  Transwoman Althea Garrison was elected to the Massachusetts state legislature in 1995 and served one term.  Transwoman Kim Coco Iwamoto was twice elected to the Board of Education in Hawaii, where she now serves in an appointed position as a commissioner on the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission.  The Honorable Victoria Kolakowski was elected as a judge of the Alameda County (CA) Superior Court in 2010.  Shabnam Mausi was elected as a hijra to a state-level position in India, where she served in the Madhya Pradesh State Legislative Assembly from 1998-2003.  Yollada “Nok” Suanyot was elected to a Province-level position in Thailand in 2012.

Stacie Laughton was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 2012, but resigned soon afterwards when it was discovered she was ineligible, being a convicted felon whose sentence had not yet been fully discharged.

Several transpeople have been elected and served on the local level, most notably Mayor Stu Rassmussen of Silverton, OR, who recently auctioned off her shoe collection to raise money for civic improvements.  The mayor wants to use the money to fund what the mayor refers to as Silverton’s “neat stuff,” like the city swimming pool and senior center.

I’ve got all day shoes.  I’ve got eight-hour shoes, two-hour shoes, 30-minute shoes and ‘come over here and look at my shoes’ shoes.

–Mayor Rasmussen

Politicians are currently running for relatively high office in New Zealand and India overseas, and here in the States in Maryland (Dana Beyer).  Recently transgender candidates have run for office in Houston, Florida, Utah, and Colorado.

Then there is the case of Murray Hall, who worked as a bail bondsman in New York City and was one of the “good fellows” at Tammany Hall.  When he died in 1901, it was discovered that Murray was female-bodied.  At the time of his death, he resided in Greenwich Village with his second wife and their adopted daughter.  There is a more complete story here…although I vehemently object to the subtitle.  We do not “masquerade” as who we are.

1 comment

    • Robyn on April 5, 2014 at 12:02 am

    …but I’ve been running behind for a couple of days and this seemed to be the one I could do fastest.

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