First openly transgender person elected to public office in Maine

First openly transgender person elected to public office in Maine
© Getty images

Geo Neptune became the first openly transgender person elected to public office in Maine when they were voted onto the school board in Indian Township last week, according to a Maine-based transgender advocacy group. 

Neptune was elected to the school board with 155 votes, becoming the top vote-getter in the election and one of three candidates elected, MaineTransNet, a nonprofit that serves the transgender community, announced.

Neptune, 32, is a Two-Spirit artist and educator and is a member of the Passamaquoddy Tribe, according to the Maine Public Radio. Neptune, who uses they/them pronouns, told the outlet they decided to run for the school board after urging from community members and tribal youth who were familiar with Neptune's work as an art teacher in an after-school program. 

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The newly elected official said students wanted more access to Passamaquoddy culture and language. 

“The education system treats our own culture as supplementary, as an extracurricular activity that the kids are allowed to do, instead of treating Passamaquoddy culture and history as one of the main priorities in the education system,” Neptune told the outlet. “These youth concerns, on top of community members asking me to run, those are my two motivating reasons for running for this office.”

MainTransNet executive director Quinn Gormley called Neptune’s election a mark of progress. 

“We expect these electoral victories to happen in Portland, but often small communities are more willing to embrace whole identities,” Gormley told Maine Public Radio. 

MainTransNet’s Facebook post from Wednesday about Neptune’s victory has been shared more than 12,000 times as of Sunday, with users well outside Maine reportedly sharing the announcement. 

“I don't know why it resonates with so many people,” Neptune told the outlet. “I just know that I'm trying to do my best to do the work that Creator wants me to do while I'm here. And that my community, both my literal, immediate community, and my greater global community, I'll say, all really support me, and I really, I really am thankful for that. And I really, I really hope that I serve my community.”