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France Just Elected Its First Openly Transgender Mayor, Marie Cau. It’s A Step In The Right Direction

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The transgender community has always been excluded from mainstream media and culture, both consciously and unconsciously. Even within the LGBTQ community, transgender and non-binary people often find themselves marginalised. A heteronormative society like ours needs to make more space for them. Now that conversations about the LGBTQ community are opening up, we need to talk about things like discrimination in the workplace, denial of medical treatment on the basis of gender and sexuality, bullying and harassment faced by school children, and so many other questions that remain unanswered to this day. But most importantly, we need to talk about why LGBTQ individuals are not looked at as people beyond their gender identity and sexual orientation – a problem the cisgender and heterosexual population never faces.

In a revolutionary step, France elected its first transgender mayor this weekend. Marie Cau, who won a decisive first round victory in France’s local elections on the 15th of March, has vowed to “wake up” her small village of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes in Northern France. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, her inauguration took place over two months after the elections.

Cau says she was unsurprised by the result. An engineer with a passion for agriculture and the environment, she aims at developing social and environmental policies in the village. She describes herself as someone who works like a company boss.

“The villagers didn’t vote for or against me because I’m transgender. They voted for a programme and values. Social ties have disappeared, people want change,” Cau said. She believes that the villagers identified with her ideas towards the development of sustainable agriculture and the local economy, and her desire to preserve the environment.

“My dream is to build an exemplary village, to demonstrate that normal citizens can do things that the government can’t,” she said.

The people of Marie’s village have shown incredible support for her. Her gender and sexual orientation does not make a difference to them. “She has been living here for 20 years, we know how she works. If she manages to create ties, so much the better for Tilloy!” said Herve Fontanel, who is one of the villagers.

His neighbour, Marie-Josee Godefroy, agreed. “The village will be revived and spoken of more.”

Their new mayor says she has never faced discrimination in her village. “It’s rare. People are considerate, despite a couple of blunders,” she said.

This is exactly the spirit we need. If we decide whether or not we should vote for someone based on their gender identity, deserving candidates like Marie Cau would not get the chance they have earned. This kind of irrational prejudice will get us nowhere. We are proud of Marie and wish her and her village the best!

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