Marie Cau made history in France after becoming the country’s first transgender mayor. She was elected almost unanimously by the council of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes, in northeastern France on 23 May, with 14 votes in favour and one null vote.
The 55-year-old Marie Cau, ran on a platform of ecological sustainability and building the local economy. She said she was “not an activist” and wanted to focus on municipal politics.
“People did not elect me because I was or was not transgender, they elected a programme,” she said. “That’s what’s interesting: when things become normal, you don’t get singled out.”
France’s gender equality minister Marlène Schiappa tweeted in her support on Sunday. “Trans visibility, and the fight against transphobia, also depends on exercising political and public responsibilities. Congratulations Marie Cau!”
Cau is a business manager with a background in agricultural and sustainability, Cau has lived in the village for 20 years. She said that since starting her transition 15 years ago, Cau has lived without any discrimination or bullying in the village, she says: “It’s rare. People are kind, despite some flaws.”
Marie Cau, first transgender mayor, recognizes the importance of her election. She recognizes that her election can help show “that transgender people can have normal social and political lives”.
Marie Cau is known by her middle name. She explained that she is still working on getting her paperwork corrected, but that people have been fine calling her by her second middle name.
Speaking about media attention she is getting, “I’m surprised by the huge media attention given to her election,” Leconte added. Cau said “it’s surprising that it’s surprising”.
Stéphanie Nicot, co-founder of France’s National Transgender Association, said the election showed that “our fellow citizens are more and more progressive”, voting on “the value of individuals, regardless of their gender identity”.
She told Le Parisien that her plan for the village in her role as mayor is “a model based on sustainable development, the local economy and short circuits, social and better living together”.
“My dream is to build an exemplary village, to demonstrate that normal citizens can do things that the government can’t,” she said.