France elects its first known transgender mayor
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A transgender woman was elected mayor of the French town Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes on Saturday, becoming the country’s first known openly transgender mayor, French media reported, according to multiple outlets.

"What's surprising is that this is surprising," Marie Cau told Agence France-Presse, NBC News reported. "They didn’t vote for me or against me because I’m transgender; they voted for a program and for values." 

Cau, 55, ran on a platform focused on environmental sustainability issues, in addition to building the local economy, the BBC reported. Cau was elected by the residents of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes, which has a population of about 600 people, on March 15 in municipal elections alongside other councilors for the city. Those newly elected lawmakers voted Saturday to make Cau mayor. 


Cau has lived in Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes, which is near the Belgium border, for nearly 20 years, NBC News reported. Cau said that since her transition 15 years ago, she has not experienced discrimination based on her gender identity, saying "people are kind, despite some blunders." 

Cau told French media that she hopes her gender identity will someday “become a nonevent,” and she noted that her election shows "that transgender people can have normal social and political lives," according to NBC News. 

Marlène Schiappa, France's minister of state for gender equality, congratulated Cau on Twitter, writing in French, “Trans visibility, and therefore the fight against transphobia, also requires the exercise of political or public responsibilities."

Stéphanie Nicot, co-founder of France's National Transgender Association, said that Cau’s election demonstrated that "our fellow citizens are more and more progressive,” choosing to vote for "the value of individuals, regardless of their gender identity,” the BBC reported.