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Texas mayor becomes state’s first openly trans person to hold elected office

Jess Herbst is making Texas history.


Audrey Browning


Posted on Feb 1, 2017   Updated on May 25, 2021, 2:16 am CDT

New Hope, a small town in Collin County, Texas, is home to the first openly transgender official in an elected office in the state’s history.

In an open letter to her community, New Hope Mayor Jess Herbst came out as a trans woman on the town’s website. She was previously elected as alderman and was appointed to mayorship after the former mayor passed away.

“As your Mayor I must tell you about something that has been with me since my earliest memories,” Herbst wrote in the letter. “I am Transgender.”

Herbst said she began hormone replacement therapy two years ago and has the full support of her family.

She cited openly transgender celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox for opening up a dialogue so “society finally has a chance to see and learn about who [transgender people] are.”

New Hope lies inside Collin County, one of the most conservative suburban areas in the state. Texas, as a conservative state, isn’t known for being very welcoming to transgender people.

Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick is a staunch supporter of the proposed so-called state bathroom bill, Senate Bill 6. Herbst has openly decried Patrick and similar bills in the past. She refers to the bills as “nocuous, transphobic, fantasies of religious zealots” on her personal website.

Herbst’s website is full of her personal experiences as a trans woman and thoughts on political decisions that affect transgender people. She hopes that, by being open and trying to educate other transgender people, the social and political climates will become more accepting.

“People can easily be blinded by fear, but once they understand the truth, fear no longer controls them,” Herbst wrote.

H/T Texas Observer

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*First Published: Feb 1, 2017, 12:38 pm CST