Just yesterday I published a rundown on some of the transgender people running for public office here and there.
Truth: That was all a lead-in to today's story.
Mel Wymore is going to take a second shot at making history as the first transgender member of the City Council — and says he was motivated by President Trump’s election.
Wymore will run again for the Upper West Side seat now held by Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who edged him out in a crowded 2013 Democratic primary in which he placed second.
I’m running because Trump won and that was a big wakeup call for us. And for me that means we have to do better. And I wouldn’t run if I didn’t think we could do better here on the Upper West Side.
There’s a sense of people feeling divided, feeling dismissed, feeling left behind and excluded, and I feel that, right now especially, it’s important for us to feel united, active, engaged and really caring for each other.
Wymore is a longtime community board member and executive director of TransPAC, which aims to advance trans rights in the state, and said he wasn’t running to highlight transgender issues — but that it was “more of a relevant issue right now” given Trump’s election. His administration has sought to reverse course on allowing trans students to use the bathrooms of their choosing.
There’s an opportunity for the Upper West Side to send a strong and clear message that we are progressives, we’re not going to allow ourselves to be divided and we’re going to broaden our sense of inclusion.
It's a huge opportunity. Everyone was so shocked and dismayed about Trump, but my first personal reaction to Trump was that I felt unleashed, you know? Game on.
Because of his campaign bid, Wymore is stepping back from his work at TransPAC. However, he did share that for the 2018 and 2020 election cycles the PAC will continue to focus on races for the New York State Senate. But that may change.
TransPAC is looking beyond New York's borders to some critical races and looking at some transgender candidates themselves.
Establishing a pipeline from local offices for trans candidates may be key to significantly increasing the number of trans representatives. There are currently no transgender elected officials at the state or federal levels in the United States. Research suggests that the presence of LGBTQ representatives can prevent the passage of exclusionary legislation, such as the spate of anti-transgender bathroom bills in state legislatures across the country.
There is no question that breaking this barrier will have huge ramifications but … my voice is not only a trans voice, my voice is a human voice. I am talking about seniors and young people and people with disabilities.
We have to change the DNA of the party. We have to change the way we are representing our communities.
We have these attacks coming, and our first line of defense is city counci. If we are going to protect our most vulnerable citizens, it's going to happen at the most local level. Life happens there.
The failure of Democrats [is that] we have floated above that level of connection and grass roots organizations.
Let's get brave, get courageous and start engaging people. We need to have people step up.