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France Just Elected Its First Trans Mayor

Small French village of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes made history when they elected Marie Cou as Mayor, the first out trans person in France to hold that position.

A small village of less than 600 inhabitants in the north of France made history this weekend when they elected their country’s first out trans mayor according to Le Parisien. Marie Cau was elected to the position by her fellow members of the local council of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes.

"I am not an activist," Cau told reporters following her victory. "People did not elect me because I was transgender or against, they elected a program."

The announcement was met with praise from the country’s gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa, who tweeted her support of Cau.

“Trans visibility, and therefore the fight against transphobia, also requires the exercise of political or public responsibilities,” Schiappa tweeted. “Congratulations to Marie Cau!”

Cau has lived in the village for over 20 years and is the mother of three children. She is an engineer with training in agriculture and horticulture as well. She began her transition 15 years ago and says she has lived free from discrimination in her village.

“It’s rare,” she is quoted in Euronews. “People are kind, despite some flaws.”

Constituent Hervé Fontanel says that Cau’s gender “doesn’t matter” and tells Euronews “she has lived here for 20 years, you can see how she works."

Cau faces a difficult challenge. “[I have a] blank sheet, an almost non-existent budget, a school that hasn’t been reopened yet and many other coronavirus-related challenges,” she said

She ran on a platform "based on sustainable development, the local economy and short circuits, social and better living together." The recent global pandemic has made her job even more difficult.

"The social bond has disappeared,” Cau told reporters. “The people wanted change.”

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