US & Canada

Transgender mayor Jess Herbst makes official history for Texas

Jess Herbst shared a photo from 1977 and from 2017 on Facebook Image copyright Facebook/Jess Herbst
Image caption Jess Herbst shared a photo from 1977 to compare it with how she looks now on Facebook

The mayor of a small town in Texas has become the first transgender elected official in the state's history, local media report.

Jess Herbst, who became mayor of New Hope last May, made the announcement in an open letter to the town's residents.

"As your Mayor I must tell you about something that has been with me since my earliest memories. I am Transgender," she wrote.

Ms Herbst was appointed mayor following the death of her predecessor.

She had previously been elected to the Town Council as an alderman and road commissioner, according to her statement on the New Hope website.

"I know that transgender people are just coming to light in our society, and we have made great strides in the last few years," she said.

"My daughters have been adamant supporters of me and are proud to tell people their father is transgender," she added.

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Ms Herbst has been documenting her experience on her blog, JessHerbst.com.

As the mayor of the small Collin County town, she is the first known openly transgender elected official in Texas history, the Texas Observer reports.

"I will continue as Mayor and hope to do the very best for the town," she said.

Transgender issues have made the headlines in Texas in recent months after Republicans unveiled the so-called "bathroom bill", a proposal that bans transgender people from using public bathrooms of their choice.

Such bills have become a flashpoint in the battle over transgender rights in the US.

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