25 May 2020
A trans woman in France has won election in her local commune to become the country’s first openly transgender mayor.
The council in Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes in northeastern France chose Marie Cau as its new mayor on Saturday.
The 55-year-old ran on a platform of ecological sustainability and building the local economy.
Speaking to the AFP news agency, Ms Cau said she was “not an activist” and wanted to focus on municipal politics.
“People did not elect me because I was or was not transgender, they elected a programme,” Ms Cau said. “That’s what’s interesting: when things become normal, you don’t get singled out.”
France’s gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa tweeted her support on Sunday.
“Trans visibility, and the fight against transphobia, also depends on exercising political and public responsibilities. Congratulations Marie Cau!”
Residents of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes – a commune of under 600 inhabitants on the Belgian border – voted in municipal elections in March.
They elected all the councillors from the “Deciding Together” list, among them Ms Cau. On Saturday these councillors voted nearly unanimously to make her the new mayor of the town.
Stéphanie Nicot, co-founder of France’s National Transgender Association, said the election showed that “our fellow citizens are more and more progressive”, voting on “the value of individuals, regardless of their gender identity”.