Owen Hurcum took office on Monday as the world’s first known non-binary mayor.
Hurcum, 23, is genderqueer and Agender and was elected unanimously by the Bangor, Wales City Council last year after serving as Deputy Mayor of North Wales Live for a year reported. Hurcum, who uses gender-neutral pronouns, did not take office until Monday because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Hurcum shared a photo with you on Monday traditional mayoral chainand thanked the city.
“It is a tremendous privilege to have been elected to the office of Mayor of Bangor by my fellow councilors,” Hurcum said in a statement to NBC News. “I’m not taking this lightly and will work as hard as possible to give everything back to the city that has given me so much. I may only be 23 years old, but I have a lot of local government experience and a fantastic team behind me. I know we are prepared for the challenges ahead. “
Hurcum added that representation “is more than just building the chain, but I’m glad to have received thousands of positive messages from non-binary people around the world saying what it means to see me in that role . ”
Hurcum told North Wales Live that they moved to Bangor, where about 18,000 people live, about five years ago to attend Bangor University.
“Within a week, I fell in love with them and tried to immerse myself in the city’s culture,” they said last year.
Hurcum took an interest in politics while studying, North Wales Live reported. Before becoming deputy mayor, they served on the city council for four years.
Hurcum also ran for Senedd, the Welsh parliament, in the spring but resigned in March, saying the Welsh Plaid Cymru party they were running for provides a platform for those who promote transphobia.
They specifically called out Senedd member Helen Mary Jones, who has described herself as a “gender-critical feminist”. according to the BBC. Hurcum said Jones retweeted “transphobic” Twitter accounts sending them “verbally abusive” messages.
“She made no effort to find out more about our community and why her retweets are so harmful,” said Hurcum wrote on Twitter in March.
A few days later, Jones apologized and closed her Twitter account, the BBC reported.
“I expressly acknowledge that some of the accounts I follow and retweet have shared content that is unacceptable and transphobic, and I very much regret the impact on individuals and the broader trans community,” she said in an explanation. “No more than the trans community. For this, I sincerely apologize to the trans community for the pain and injury I have caused. I’m still learning.”
In one answer At the time, Hurcum welcomed the apology but told NBC News that the Plaid Cymru party “is still a long way from regaining my and our communities’ trust.”
Hurcum joins the growing list of elected transgender and non-binary elected officials worldwide. In 1999 New Zealand chose Georgina Beyer who world’s first trans member of parliament. Tony Briffa became Australia’s openly intersex at first Mayor in 2011.
More recently, Oklahoma State Representative Mauree Turner became the U.S. state’s first public non-binary representative in 2020. Three years earlier, Danica Roem was the first openly transgender person to be elected to a US state.
Hurcum wrote on Twitter that they “want to use my term to promote Bangor as much as possible, stimulate investment and interest, and celebrate the multicultural community that makes our city the greatness it is.”
They previously told North Wales Live that they also want to sell Bangor as a travel destination.
“I really want to work to put more money into improving the main street, encouraging more green space and promoting interconnected communities between the university and the city itself,” they said.