Transgender man elected mayor of Silverton

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by By JACK PENNING / KGW

NWCN.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 1:44 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 28 at 3:43 PM

Video: Transgender man elected mayor of Silverton

SILVERTON, Ore. - This election marked the first African-American President. The first time in 40 years an Oregon Senate candidate beat an incumbent Senator. And in tiny Silverton, Oregon, residents have elected the man who's believed to be the first ever openly transgender mayor in the United States.

Stu Rasmussen served two terms as the Mayor of Silverton in the 1990s. But he hadn't admitted to being transgender. He's not the same man now that he was then. Today he wears a skirt and high heels. He has breast implants, and long red hair. He looks like a woman - but he's not.

"I identify mostly as a heterosexual male," Rasmussen said. "But I just like to look like a female."

Rasmussen is a man. He even has a girlfriend. He says he's always been transgender, but he only "came out" a few years ago.

"Some guys' mid-life crisis is motorcycles or sports cars or climbing mountains or trophy wives or whatever." Rasmussen said his mid-life crisis was quite different. "I always wanted cleavage, so I went out and acquired some."

With the way he looks, he wasn't sure how his run for Mayor would go.

"The first 30 seconds they think, am I in a freak show? Is there a camera behind me? What's going on here?" Rasmussen told NewsChannel 8. "And then we get down to discussing whatever the issue is - city business or business or whatever - and they figure out this guy's different, but he knows what he's talking about."

It's Rasmussen's knowledge of the issues, and of the town, that won over so many voters. As one voter said, "Stu's very devoted to this town."

Rasmussen won by a hefty margin - 13 points. It really wasn't close.

"He wants to maintain the integrity of Silverton," voter Gail Frassenei said. And she said she isn't sure Rasmussen would be elected anywhere else. "I think it's amazing a small town like this can be so open-minded, to elect someone that's made a life change."

"I'm prejudiced, but I think this is just about the coolest town on Earth," Rasmussen said, just before he broke down, a tear gently running through his eyeliner, and onto his cheek. He can't wait to take office in January. He said he's finally confident enough to be himself, as he runs his hometown, wearing his signature heels.

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